Essential Reads

Cheats and Deceits: Trickery and Deception Are Widespread

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 02, 2016 in Animal Emotions
An excellent new book explains how animals and plants exploit and mislead.

Why Do Animal Tragedies Go Viral?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on April 29, 2016 in Animals and Us
A new study investigates why the death of Cecil the Lion became an instant world-wide internet sensation.

"Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 26, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new and important book by primatologist Frans de Waal considers the critical questions and data that center on the cognitive lives of a wide variety of nonhuman animals.
Photo courtesy of Dietrich Stout and Emory University

Tool Use and the Emergence of Language

By Laura Otis Ph.D. on April 24, 2016 in Rethinking Thought
Motor and language skills may seem distinct, but in human brains they are closely related.

More Posts on Animal Behavior

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?

Dog Training Using Behavior Capture

Behavior capture is a simple and enjoyable way to train dogs and puppies to respond to basic obedience commands.

Trophy Hunters' Smiles Show How Much They Like to Kill

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 26, 2015 Animal Emotions
A new study shows that pleasure smiles are greater when hunters pose with large "dangerous" corpses and that "they’re quite a bit happier when they kill a large animal versus a small animal of the same species.” There really are killing smiles.

Flying the Coop: The Importance of Adventure

By Gregg Levoy on November 25, 2015 Passion!
There's an inverse relationship between adventure and depression in our lives. Too little of one can lead to too much of the other. Here's a cautionary tale that captures it.

Steroids Can Change Your Dog's Behavior

Roid rage is real even for dogs - check out what the most common behavior changes are for dogs on steroids.

Do Crocodiles Really Cry?

What's up with crocodile tears? Do crocodiles really cry? Scientists find out.

The Evolution and Ethology of Terrorism: We Are Unique

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 21, 2015 Animal Emotions
Detailed ethological data show that human exceptionalism reigns uncontested in the arena of within-species violence.

Research Chimpanzees to be Finally "Freed" and Retired

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 18, 2015 Animal Emotions
A decision made on 16 November by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will send 50 "reserve" chimpanzees to sanctuaries so they can finally live out their lives in peace and safety.

Paris, Religion and Human Evil

What do the tragic events in Paris reveal about human nature? Is religion the cause of all evil?

Advice for the Animal Rights Movement Part 2

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on November 13, 2015 Without Prejudice
In a previous column I gave some advice, from a psychological point of view, on how animal rights advocates can more effectively communicate their message. Here I follow up with some additional comments.

Central Asia Is Proposed as Birthplace of Dogs

By Mark Derr on November 12, 2015 Dog's Best Friend
A new genetic study of village dogs--free-ranging dogs--points to Central Asia as the most likely place where dogs originated.

Are Silent Dog Whistles Useful?

There are many myths and misunderstandings about how silent dog whistles can be used to control canine behavior.

Risk Analysis of Behavior Problems: Owner Factors (4)

Behavioral problems often elicit high emotions in owners. Owners often have been dealing with these problems for a long time and, for reasons that are real for them, now feel that they have an emergency. In this blog post we will address owner factors that can affect this decision.

Why Is Cat Humor so Appealing?

By Mark Peters on November 10, 2015 Laughing Stock
I talk to Angie Bailey about what makes cat humor funny.

SeaWorld San Diego to End Killer Whale Shows for New Image

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 09, 2015 Animal Emotions
Next year SeaWorld San Diego says it will replace killer whale shows with a new more natural conservation oriented experience and will partner with a San Diego hotel owner and realtor "to build a resort on underdeveloped areas of the SeaWorld San Diego park."

Does Having a Pet Make You More Attractive?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on November 09, 2015 Animals and Us
Research on members of the Internet dating site reveals the surprising importance dogs and cats can play in modern romance.

The Conservation Charade: Elephants Do Not Belong in Zoos

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 07, 2015 Animal Emotions
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) recently made public a permit request for the import of 18 wild-caught young elephants from Swaziland to the Dallas Zoo in Texas, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska, and Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas. Eighty scientists, conservationists, and professionals from around the world have issued a statement opposing this plan.

Beastly Morality: New Book Shows Animals Are Moral Beings

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 06, 2015 Animal Emotions
A new book edited by Emory University professor Dr. Jonathan Crane called "Beastly Morality: Animals as Ethical Agents" offers the latest information about animal cognition, emotions, and morality and shows that many different nonhuman animals are moral beings who can process ideas of good and bad and think seriously about virtue.

Homo Professoris, Part VI

Please, folks: raise your children to be bold and brave. Not victim-mongering whiny little wussies.

New Zealand Kids Kill Possums for Fun and Games

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 05, 2015 Animal Emotions
Youngsters in a rural New Zealand school joyfully trap and kill possums. According to their principal, “They’re country kids, so they loved dealing with dead possums!" This is a most disturbing example of "teach the children wrong" and also very disturbing because of the well known link between violence toward nonhuman animals and violence toward humans.

Can Living With a Dog Prevent Asthma in Kids?

A study shows that kids exposed to dogs in the first year of their life may be protected from asthma and allergies later on.

Florida's Brutal Black Bear Massacre: A Bloody Update

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 27, 2015 Animal Emotions
The sanctioned killing of black bears in Florida is a regrettable bloodbath that defies anything that comes close to even the loosest definitions of compassion. It is unregulated and blatantly ignores public opinion and solid science.

Fortress of Fear: Why We Sometimes Sabotage Opportunity

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on October 26, 2015 The Dolphin Divide
Is psychic re-wiring worth the effort after the damage is done? When our experiences teach us to fear, opportunity-sabotaging anxiety, isolation, and distemper can result. The causes of fear are numerous and wide-ranging. Is turning the tide with new behavioral history worth pursuing?

Pound for Pound: Shelter Dogs Love a Woman Back to Life

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 25, 2015 Animal Emotions
A new book by Shannon Kopp, "Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman's Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life," is an inspirational gem.

Risk Analysis of Behavior Problems: Environmental Factors 3

Behavioral problems often elicit high emotions in owners. Owners often have been dealing with these problems for a long time and, for reasons that are real for them, now feel that they have an emergency. In this blog post we will address environmental factors that can affect this decision.

Howler Monkeys Have a Deep Voice or Big Balls But Not Both

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 22, 2015 Animal Emotions
Howler monkeys have low sexy calls or big balls, but not both. While this research "has no practical application to human mate choice … some research has suggested that men with deep voices have more sex partners, and therefore more opportunities to reproduce. But another study showed lower sperm quality in deeper-voiced men." Oh wouldn't it be nice if … or would it?

Are Killers Ordinary Men?

The staff of a French abattoir has been filmed behaving with almost incredible callousness. Were they enjoying themselves, only obeying orders, or acting in spite of themselves?

Do Dog Barks Signal Emotional Information to Humans?

Dog barks signal a dog's emotional state and data suggests that even without training humans can read this information.