Animal Behavior Essential Reads

Do Nervous Dog Owners Have Nervous Dogs?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on February 16, 2017 in Canine Corner
Dog owners who have more neurotic personalities tend to have dogs who are nervous and cope with stress less efficiently, a new study finds.

St. Valentine’s Day and the Biology of Romantic Kissing

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on February 14, 2017 in How We Do It
For Westerners, kisses and Valentine’s Day are inseparable. But new cross-cultural evidence challenges evolutionary inferences regarding possible biological functions of kissing.

Pet Loss, Veterinary Wellness, and the Human-Animal Bond

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 12, 2017 in Animal Emotions
An interview with the founder of the Pet Loss Education Project, Adam Clark, who specializes in coping with the grief of losing a companion animal.

Groundhog Day, Correlation, and Human Evolution

Ever wonder what's up with Groundhog Day? Evolutionary psychology can help us understand this one.

Getting Over Rover: Why Our Grief Over a Dog Is So Intense

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on January 29, 2017 in Out of the Ooze
Those of us who have loved a dog know the truth: Your pet is never "just a dog," which explains why we miss them so much when they pass away.

Social Learning: Eyes Provide a Window Into Primate Minds

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 25, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Captive gorillas and chimpanzees demonstrate social learning similar to humans. Using cutting-edge eye tracking technology, we can now use primate eyes to see into primate minds.

Is Humanity's "Moral Sense" Inherited or Nurtured?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 22, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
Humans inherit many things from their ancestors beyond genes. Darwin argued with evidence that humanity's "moral sense" is part of their nature, not against it. Where did it go?

Mums, Babies, and Their Brains: Why They Take Sides

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 22, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new study provides a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of brain lateralization and the role it plays in influencing social encounters between mothers and their infants.

Why Do Large Dogs Have Shorter Life Spans Than Small Dogs?

Bigger is not better when it comes to the size of dogs. Recent data help explain why larger dogs age more quickly.

Social Defeat Wreaks Havoc on Brain Circuitry, Study Finds

By Christopher Bergland on January 10, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
A new study using state-of-the-art technology has pinpointed how bullying and social defeat can alter the functional connectivity between cortical and subcortical brain regions.

Do Vegetarians Smell Sexier?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on January 09, 2017 in Animals and Us
New studies reveal that diet affects human body odor and even our skin color. But do men who give up meat smell more or less attractive to women?

Did a Drop in Testosterone Civilize Modern Humans?

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on January 09, 2017 in Beastly Behavior
Changes in the human face over the last 100,000 years may indicate a reduction in testosterone. This may have been key to the emergence of modern civilization.

Can We Slow the Aging Process in Dogs?

Aging is a risk factor for many life-threatening diseases in dogs. Pilot data shows that new drug may slow the effects of aging.

5 Ways That Animals Think Just Like We Do

By Jen Kim on December 26, 2016 in Valley Girl With a Brain
Five new studies reveal other species act more human than we think.

Why We Love

Love exists in human groups across the globe. And there are good evolutionary reasons for this fact. Here’s why.

Canine Phobias

By Nicholas Dodman on December 19, 2016 in Dog Days
Can dogs have excessive and irrational fears? Sometimes there's nothing to fear itself -- even for a dog ....

The Nonhuman Rights Project: An Interview with Steven Wise

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 16, 2016 in Animal Emotions
The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only U. S. civil rights organization working to achieve legal rights for members of other species. Animals are not "things" to be abused.

On Aggression

By Nicholas Dodman on December 10, 2016 in Dog Days
Aggressive responding, though a normal behavioral expression with survival benefits, can sometimes get out of hand in people as well as domestic animals. It is a ubiquious issue.

Do Dogs Really Bite Someone for "No Reason at All"? Take Two

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 05, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A comment on an essay made me think about why dogs do what they they do. The writer claimed a dog bit her humans and perhaps Cesar Millan for "no reason at all." I disagree.

Pet Therapy for Your Love Life

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on November 28, 2016 in Cravings
Can your relationship with your dog, cat, or betta fish predict the success of your romantic relationships?

Why Do Dogs Have Tails?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 24, 2016 in Canine Corner
The dog's tail is not simply a signal flag conveying his mood. It has some other important purposes.

Prehistoric Languages… and Prehistoric Minds? Part II

The linguistic mind of our great, great [...] great grandparents

Do We Interpret Dog and Human Emotions in the Same Way?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 17, 2016 in Canine Corner
Recent data answers the question of whether the brain processes emotional expressions of humans and dogs in the same way.

Think Like a Cat

By John Bradshaw Ph.D. on November 17, 2016 in Pets and Their People
Since cats' brains are evidently not like our own, the way they think could be very different from the way we do.

Choosing Life over Survival

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on November 13, 2016 in Bear in Mind
There are chance encounters when fences fall and "fitful influences from beyond" reveal our common connections.

Humans Are Not the Only Mind-Reading Species

A study published in Science suggests that the great apes can attribute false beliefs to others. But an even more important lesson can be drawn from the study.

Narcissism and Exotic Pets: Is There a Connection?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on October 31, 2016 in Animals and Us
New research examines how narcissism and "dark personality traits" affect our attachments to pets and why some people are drawn to companion rats, snakes, and tarantulas.

Why You're Going to Watch The Walking Dead on Sunday

By Steven Schlozman M.D. on October 22, 2016 in Grand Rounds
What to Think About As You Turn On The Walking Dead Tomorrow

Voracious Science: A Journey from Animal User to Advocate

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 21, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Dr. John Gluck's new book called "Voracious Science" details his courageous and deeply personal ethical transformation from animal researcher to animal protector.

Animal Altruism?

By Kristin Brethel-Haurwitz, Ph.D. and Abigail Marsh, Ph.D. on October 18, 2016 in For Goodness’ Sake
Why do humpback whales go out of their way to save the lives of seals? In this post, we discuss what could motivate such incredible behavior.