Essential Reads

Peter Singer Argues for "Effective Altruism" in His New Book

"The Most Good You Can Do" is a very thoughtful book about charitable giving.

Do Dog People and Cat People Differ in Terms of Dominance?

Evidence shows that the personalities of dog versus cat lovers are different.

Scalding Live Chickens Is an Accepted Brutal Business Model

Nicholas Kristof's New York Times "To Kill a Chicken" is a must read

A Landmark Case for the Legal Rights of Dogs?

The legal rights of dogs may have been changed by a trial for cat-slaughter.

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

If We Could Talk to the Animals

By David Ludden Ph.D. on January 16, 2015 in Talking Apes
Animal communication systems aren’t just simple languages, as there are fundamental differences between the ways that animals and humans communicate.

Foie Gras Is Not a Non-issue: Ducks and Geese Matter

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 15, 2015 in Animal Emotions
In a recent essay in the New York Times called "Let Them Eat Foie Gras," essayist Mark Bittman writes, "The lifting of the California ban against selling foie gras (the hyperfattened liver of geese or ducks, brought about by overfeeding the live animals) is pretty much a nonissue." Tell that to the ducks and geese who have food shoved down their throat to fatten them up.

Practical Management Tips For Dogs With Behavioral Issues

Basic recommendations to manage a dog that exhibits fearful, anxious or reactive behavior in different situations.

When a Dog Has "Accidents," the Detection Game

Borrowing a scientific technique from crime scene investigators may help to solve problems associated with house cleanliness "accidents" which occur when a dog owner is not at home.

Rats Like Tickling: Why Is the Animal Welfare Act So Lame?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 14, 2015 in Animal Emotions
New research shows the benefits of tickling rats before rather than after they are subjected to pain, that pigs display empathy, and much more. We've known that rats, mice, and many other animals display empathy and are highly emotional and sentient beings, so why does invasive research continue and why does the federal Animal Welfare Act ignore research on these animals?

Is Sandra Orangutan a Person and More Free? No, She Is Not.

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 13, 2015 in Animal Emotions
The personhood case of Sandra Orangutan, who still languishes in the Buenos Aires Zoo, remains a mystery. She is still in the zoo, no one seems to know if and when she will go to a sanctuary, the action taken on her behalf doesn't mean that the zoo has to release her to a sanctuary, and her status under Argentine law really hasn't changed. Good luck and many blessings.

A Breakthrough On The Physical Science Of The Soul

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 13, 2015 in Ambigamy
We've been in the dark so damn long we don't notice. We know that living striving selves are real but have no idea how they emerged in a universe that didn't start with them. Without a bridge from matter to mattering we hop between two separate realities, cause and effect, and means to ends. Science is now finally primed to bridge the gap.

Charlie Hebdo and Group Regression

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on January 12, 2015 in The Me in We
Some culturally-determined psychological elements contributing to the Charlie Hebdo attack.

What Motivates Female Serial Killers?

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on January 12, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
Sex is much farther down on the list of motivations for female serial killers. Sexual or sadistic motives are extremely rare among females. Instead, female serial murderers tend to take a much more pragmatic approach to their killings, and do so for financial profit or revenge.

Moral Stupefaction

By Jesse Marczyk on January 11, 2015 in Pop Psych
Some research has claimed that people are often found to be "morally dumbfounded", unable to explain their moral judgments with good reasons. The same research also suggests that people moralize "harmless" actions. While that may be true in some cases, in others the fault may reside within what researchers are counting as "good reasons" and "harm".

10 Things Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human

Perhaps we should turn to our dogs and cats to remind us what's most important.

Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun: Birds, Fish, and Reptiles Too

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 09, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A recent issue of Current Biology is devoted to the biology of fun and covers animals including dogs and other mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and invertebrates. The online essays are free, and I highly recommend reading them to learn what we know about the emotional lives of animals and why having fun has evolved. It's a no-brainer, many animals simply love to have fun.

The Cow's Nose Shows How They're Feeling About Life

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 09, 2015 in Animal Emotions
New research shows that nasal temperature in dairy cows is affected by positive emotional states. Specifically, researchers have discovered that a drop in nasal temperature is associated with a more positive emotional state induced by stroking the cows. We owe it to cows and others to give them the very best lives we can and it's easy to assess what they're feeling.

Ones vs Zeros— Inequality Reflected in 2015 Digital Design

In the science fiction world of technology predictions, the wealthy one percenters always seem to get all the attention. While tech built for them is mostly beyond reach for the rest of us, these technologies possess tremendous symbolic power--smart homes, smart cars, and on-line services conjured like magic via "on-demand." Is resistance futile?

Our Family History

By David Ludden Ph.D. on January 09, 2015 in Talking Apes
It’s odd that there’s only one species of human nowadays, given that our ancestors once shared this planet with other human species.

How to Have the Marriage You Want

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on January 08, 2015 in Singletons
Redefining marriage gives yours a better chance of surviving in our changed society. 74% of newlyweds won’t be surprised if their marriage fails. Here, seven sensible, forward thinking contracts for marital success in established marriages and for couples about to say “I do.” Consider them insurance policies that pay huge dividends.

In the Human Brain, Dogs and Children Are Equally Lovable

MRI data explores how human mothers respond to their own children and to their family dog. The similarities are remarkable.

I'm Glad I'm Not Sarah Palin's Dog: Dogs Aren't Stools

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 07, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Sarah Palin: "Chill. At least Trig didn't eat the dog." Rather than making heartless comments about her son, Trig, using their family dog, Jill, as a stepping stool, Ms. Palin could have provided valuable lessons in humane education concerning the importance of respect for other animals.

My Pet Hates the Vet!

Why are veterinary visits so unpleasant for some pets? Learn to recognize the signs that your pet is unhappy or fearful during the veterinary. You can actively work on changing your pet’s experience in the veterinary clinic to be much more positive and pleasant.

Self-help, Self-love, Selfie: What Is a Self Anyway?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 05, 2015 in Ambigamy
We care about our selves a whole lot, and yet for all that care, we're fuzzy and tangled about what a self is. Here's an inventory of the fuzz and my best guess at how to untangle it.

Meet the Enemy: It Is Us

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on January 05, 2015 in The Me in We
By owning your aggression you can turn it to good use.

Everyday Trauma, Everyday Resilience

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on January 04, 2015 in Child in Mind
Research at the interface of child development and neuroscience offers insight in to development of resilience. By listening to the story of parent and child, there is opportunity to point development in a healthy direction and avoid repeating unhealthy patterns from previous generations.

Artificial Versus Natural Intelligence

Can we combine artificial and natural intelligence for better health?

Getting into the Flow for the New Year

Whether you call it getting into your creative zone or flow, make sure you make it part of your health and wellness practice in the new year. Give yourself time to do what you love and reap the benefits of optimal experiences.

Are Plants Entering the Realm of the Sentient?

By Kenneth Worthy Ph.D. on December 31, 2014 in The Green Mind
Some people are still grappling with the idea that humans are not the only animals with intelligence, thought, and consciousness. Some scientists are now studying whether even plants have intelligence—sensation, awareness, integration of information, long-term memory, and adaptive learning. Their findings challenge human uniqueness.

The Jane Effect: A New Book Celebrating Jane Goodall

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 30, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Jane Goodall has had a significant impact on the lives of innumerable people and other animals. This new book contains essays about Dr. Goodall as friend, colleague, partner, professor, naturalist, exemplar, visionary, and inspiration, written by researchers and many others whose lives she has touched. It was conceived as a gift to celebrate her 80th birthday.

5 Ancient Guidelines We Should Follow Today

Our paleolithic ancestors probably didn't make New Year's resolutions - but if they did, these resolutions would have been influenced by their natural, pre-agrarian lifestyles. Perhaps for 2015, by making resolutions that consider our ancestral past, we can make resolutions that (a) are manageable and that (b) help us achieve evolutionarily appropriate outcomes.

Let's Make Compassion and Rewilding All the Rage in 2015

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 28, 2014 in Animal Emotions
An "old" book, two new books, and a growing international movement all call for compassion and rewilding revolutions. It's about time to make compassion rock, as a young student once told me, so let's all do something as a unified community to foster global compassion for all animals, human and nonhuman, and their homes. And, then, let's be creative and do even more.

Saving the Large Carnivores

By Mark Derr on December 28, 2014 in Dog's Best Friend
Female European brown bear in Dynaric Mountains, Slovenia. Copyright Miha Krofel. Courtesy of Science magazine.

Sandra Orangutan and Personhood: An Essential Clarification

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 24, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Worldwide media about granting personhood and rights to Sandra Orangutan needs closer scrutiny. Here, attorney Steven Wise, who heads the Nonhuman Rights Project, provides an essential clarification.