Essential Reads

Autistics as Undomesticated Humans

To the extent that humans are a self-domesticated species, autistics can be seen as less domesticated than others.

Kids, Chimps, and Cooperation

By Art Markman Ph.D. on August 23, 2016 in Ulterior Motives
People are pretty good at sharing when they are cooperating. When does that ability develop? Is it uniquely human?

Some Dogs Prefer Praise and a Belly Rub Over Treats

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 22, 2016 in Animal Emotions
New neuroimaging and behavioral research show some dogs prefer praise to treats as a reward. Saying "good dog" and rubbing a belly are great ideas for training/teaching dogs.

Pet Loss Grief

Losing a pet can be just as devastating as losing a human member of the family. Validating that grief in yourself and others is a step toward coping with the loss.

More Posts on Animal Behavior

Doing What Light Does

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on January 19, 2016 in Bear in Mind
Explore the psychology of compassion that knows no boundaries.
Ruth Collier

So Human an Animal: Homo Sapiens?

Perhaps dogs have the edge on us as a species when we study the history of mankind in nature’s world.

Sheep to the Rescue in Learning About Emergency Evacuations

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 17, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Sheep show that "faster is slower" and show us how to escape potentially tragic situations.

At What Age Should Puppies Be Brought to Their New Homes?

New data confirms that when a puppy is taken from its litter at too young an age problems develop when it becomes an adult.

Why the News Is Loaded With Violence

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on January 14, 2016 in The Human Beast
If it bleeds, it leads according to a journalistic aphorism. This emphasis distorts reality and reinforces grisly crimes. But where in the human psyche does it come from?

Play in Animals: A Potpourri of New Comparative Research

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 13, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Four new essays discuss play in animals including metacommunication, fairness, social competence, and how dominance relationships among players need to be considered.

The Psychology Behind the Doctors Strike in the UK

Strikes can also serve a psychological function, because if the union were never to strike, the employer would always offer the lowest possible remuneration...

Will You Lose Weight By Giving Up Meat?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on January 11, 2016 in Animals and Us
Most diets fail. This new study compares vegetarianism and veganism as strategies for shedding excess pounds. The results are encouraging.

Puddle Week Viral Videos

By Siu-Lan Tan Ph.D. on January 08, 2016 in What Shapes Film?
It's "PUDDLE week" in the world of viral videos... just in time to brighten up our first week back after the holidays!
By Tom Adams (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This Is Why Couples Cannot Hold Grudges

By Jennifer Verdolin Ph.D. on January 06, 2016 in Wild Connections
Conflict is always stressful, and animals show us that re-establishing positive interactions quickly afterward is crucial for a relationship to remain healthy.

Three Reasons Why Pets Don't Lower Health Care Costs

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on January 04, 2016 in Animals and Us
An industry study claims that the medical benefits of owning pets save Americans $12 billion dollars a year on health care costs. Here are the reasons they might be wrong.

Something Radiant and Unknown

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on December 31, 2015 in Bear in Mind
Sanctuary cannot erase an Elephant's traumatic past, but it can reignite the spark within.

Mental Voice-Over?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on December 30, 2015 in The Dolphin Divide
Do internal sound-tracks color your communication? Experienced communicators can often make more from less, predicting what will come next before messages are complete.

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

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 30, 2015 in 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 in 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 in 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?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on December 28, 2015 in Canine Corner
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 in 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 in 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 in 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.
Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh-WikimediaCommons

Should Robots Be Our Grandma's New Friend?

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

The Fourth Care Commitment

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 19, 2015 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
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

By Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. on December 19, 2015 in Mental Wealth
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 in 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

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 18, 2015 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
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 in 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 in 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 in 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

By Eric Haseltine Ph.D. on December 16, 2015 in Long Fuse, Big Bang
Color Psychology says the sub-verbal messages were dangerous