Essential Reads

Ravens Know They're Being Watched: Bird Brain Theory of Mind

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 05, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new carefully conducted study shows ravens most likely understand what's going on in another raven's head and that they possess a theory mind.

Dogs, Cats, and Humans: Does 5X the Oxytocin = 5X the Love?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 03, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Has it really been proven that dogs love humans five times more than cats? Not quite, but there are some interesting trends that support this predictable suggestion.

Of Mice and Women: A Dark Side of Oxytocin and Conservation

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 27, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Studies of sex differences in responses to stress now focus on females. Usually data from animal studies are used for humans, but this information is important for the animals.

Why Stress Is Both Good and Bad

What are the pros and cons of stress and how can we cope with feeling stressed out?

More Posts on Animal Behavior

The Psychology Behind Our Meal Plans: Why We Eat Whom We Eat

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 30, 2015 Animal Emotions
A new video by Dr. Melanie Joy about carnism is very well done and exposes how our carnistic biases are embedded into society. I see this discussion as meal plan psychology 101.

Ethology Hasn't Been Blown: Animals Need All Help Possible

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 29, 2015 Animal Emotions
Animals need the support of different academic fields and a broad array of non-researchers. Ethology has no cover to blow and isn't dead. Indeed, ethology is alive and thriving.

Good News For Animals as We Move Into 2016

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 29, 2015 Animal Emotions
An animal is abused every 10 seconds in the United States. Tennessee's animal abuse registry and a new journal are critical for psychology and anthrozoology and give much hope.

Why Do Dogs Like to Shred Tissues?

Tissues mimic the feel of fur and feathers in a dog's mouth. This provides a clue on how to make the perfect dog toy.

Behind the Bars, No World

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on December 27, 2015 Bear in Mind
Wildlife captivity has negative effects on human observers and captive animals, as revealed in this interview about Billy, the Elephant who is kept in isolation at the L.A. Zoo.

Fish Feel Pain: Let's Get Over it and Do Something About It

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 27, 2015 Animal Emotions
A set of essays in the journal Animal Sentience concerning the question of whether fish feel pain is a must read. Fish are not mere streams of readily available unfeeling protein.

Dogs Share Food With Dog Friends Rather Than With Strangers

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 25, 2015 Animal Emotions
A new study shows dogs prefer to share food with dog friends rather than with strangers. This is an example of prosocial behavior but it is not necessarily altruistic.

Should Robots Be Our Grandma's New Friend?

By Teresa Ghilarducci Ph.D. on December 24, 2015 When I’m 64
What will loneliness in old age look like? VanGogh "At Eternity's Gate"

The Fourth Care Commitment

Presumably, death has meaning to animals themselves. The death of an animal can also be profoundly meaningful to their human companions.

12 Days of Non-Tech Gift Giving

Get "real" toys this year! Here are 12 gift categories for children that encourage imagination, bonding, movement, and of course loads of family fun.

From Agony to Ecstasy

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on December 18, 2015 Bear in Mind
Elephants are our teachers. When our minds and hearts meet on common ground, we learn how to evolve as a species.

The Third Care Commitment

If you are the caregiver for an ill animal, watch for signs of burnout. Remember that caring for an animal means also caring for yourself.

Animal Minds are Richer Than Science Once Thought

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 18, 2015 Animal Emotions
An essay in The Economist provides a good review of research in cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds).

A Rewilding Mandate: A Conversation with Michael Tobias

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 18, 2015 Animal Emotions
Read an interview with a renowned ecologist about the need to rewild in the Anthropocene. Topics include the incredible loss of species, humane education, and population control.

It's OK to Be Nostalgic. Here's the Science That Proves It.

Feeling nostalgic? Indulge yourself. Those happy memories of the past may make you better able to deal with the present.

Do Dogs Ever Simply Want to Die to End the Pain?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 17, 2015 Animal Emotions
Here, I briefly consider the claim, "There is no such thing as an animal who is so traumatized that he wants to die." Nonhumans, like humans, want the pain to end right now.

Big Red Flags in the Last Republican Debate

Color Psychology says the sub-verbal messages were dangerous

The Second Care Commitment

End-of-life care should seek to protect the integrity of an animal patient, and should allow the animal to live in ways that honor what she finds most meaningful.

A Rewilding Manifesto: Compassion, Biophilia, and Hope

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 15, 2015 Animal Emotions
Rewilding, reconnecting with other humans, nonhumans, and their homes, will make the world more peaceful and will foster hope in challenging and far too often violent times.

The First Care Commitment

One of the most important things we can do for our elderly or ill animals is attend to "total pain," and respond creatively and compassionately to the full range of suffering.

4 Care Commitments

Four core ethical commitments can shape our work in caring for our dying animal companions, either as professionals or as individual caregivers.

Toadfish Love: Singing Fish Seem to Invite a Ménage à Trois

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 13, 2015 Animal Emotions
Biologists find love in a fish who is "awfully ugly," croons beautifully, and invites a ménage à trois.

Sleeping With Baby: Good or Bad?

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on December 11, 2015 How We Do It
A crucial decision parents must make after birth is whether to sleep with the infant. Some claim that sudden infant death is more likely. But bed-sharing promotes breast-feeding.

Detroit Zoo's Ron Kagan Talks About "Patient-Centered" Zoos

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 08, 2015 Animal Emotions
A TEDx talk by Ron Kagan, executive director of the Detroit zoo, about the future of compassionate "patient-centered" zoos is worth watching regardless of your views on zoos.

3 Bad Habits that I Use with My Puppy.

By Gretchen Rubin on December 08, 2015 The Happiness Project
Do you have any habits that you swore you wouldn’t have, before you got a dog? Any tips for me?

Social Conflict Between Household Cats

With the popularity of companion cats at an all-time high, many households have multiple cats. This can lead to some interesting dynamics, including aggression.

Great, Great, Great, Great…Ape Men

Some new books and recent fossil finds spawn these reflections on great apes, cultural transmission and the ways of wise old men. Thanks to Lamarck too.

What Do People Really Think About Dogs in the Workplace?

Pets in the workplace make the environment more comfortable, provide companionship and improve social interactions.

How and Why Dogs Play Revisited: Who’s Confused?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 29, 2015 Animal Emotions
A new book presents some interesting but untested ideas and beliefs about play behavior in dogs as facts. Beliefs don’t substitute for data that have been reviewed by peers.

Mind Control: Psychology by the Numbers?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on November 28, 2015 The Dolphin Divide
How addition and subtraction affect our behavior. Are we truly in charge of our own choices, or does simple math routinely intrude to manipulate our mental equations? Just who or what is in control of our minds?