Essential Reads

Empathic Rats Save Drowning Pals Rather than Eat Chocolate

Research again shows rats display empathy so why do we torture them in labs?

Do Dogs Have Empathy for Human Stress and Discomfort?

Both dogs and people produce stress hormones when they hear a baby cry.

Makings of a Child

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) expand the basis of a baby.

Captive Killer Whales Die Much Younger than Wild Orcas

A new study shows captive killer whales don't live as long as wild relatives

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Do Dogs Feel Jealousy and Envy?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 11, 2011 in Canine Corner
In social situations dogs become jealous if they see other dogs being rewarded for behaviors, while they themselves are not.

Teaching Compassion to Kids

Fostering compassion in young people is among the best ways to prevent verbal, physical, and emotional aggression from taking root.

"What In the World Do My Essays Have To Do With Psychology?"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 11, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Knowing about nonhuman animals has everything to do with human psychology. What we think, know, feel, and believe about animals should strongly influence how we interact with them but often it doesn't. Animals are merely property in the eyes of the law and enjoy little to no legal standing. This, in and of itself, tells us lots about human psychology.

Parenting Gifted Children: Free Materials, Alternate Course Design Part 2

By Joseph Cardillo Ph.D. on November 08, 2011 in Attention Training
Many parents of gifted children wonder if you can reverse the effects of under-challenging educational programs their child is exposed to-perhaps daily?

Circuses: Wild Animals Do Not Belong in the Cruelest Show on Earth

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 07, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Circuses do nothing for the animals themselves or for other members of their species despite claims to the contrary. Circuses make no contributions to conservation. They serve no purpose other than "entertainment" if you dare to call watching abused and terrorized animals performing stupid and unnatural tricks "entertainment".

Our Place in the Zoo

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on November 07, 2011 in The Dolphin Divide
We can, indeed, talk to the animals. What might be surprising is that they can talk back. Do animals besides ourselves sometimes feel trapped by an inability to say what’s on their minds? It turns out that animals can not only meaningfully express themselves through language when given the chance—but they can do so quite eloquently on occasion.

What Makes Us Uniquely Human?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 04, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Are we the only animals who mentally time travel and have a theory of mind? Some people think so but there are data that suggest we're not. Are we exceptional in some ways? Yes we are but so are other animals.

How to Avoid Population Overshoot and Collapse

Like all other species, we have no evolved psychological adaptations specifically designed to prevent ecological overshoot and population collapse. One way to promote sustainability may be to collectively consent to a publicly supported media campaign to tweak our psychological adaptations.

Rampant Wolf Killing Makes Some People Happy

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 01, 2011 in Animal Emotions
In just 2 weeks 44 wolves have been killed, or as some say "bagged," in Montana. Some people actually find the deplorable slaughter of these magnificent animals makes them happy and to be encouraging. How in the world did such shameful and sick attitudes toward sentient beings ever evolve? Would they kill their dog? I'm afraid to ask.

A Scientific Explanation for the Emergence of Mattering from Matter

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 01, 2011 in Ambigamy
Why would we think a physicist insane if he said "the moon pulls on the tides because it wants to" but don't think a psychologist insane for saying that you do things because you want to? Terry Deacon's new book bridges the gap between matter and mattering providing the first fully scientific material explanation for how matter could become conscious.

Why Are Some Dogs So Anxious and Fearful?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 01, 2011 in Canine Corner
Whether a dog's fearfulness was caused by his genes or his life history there are right and wrong ways to deal with his anxieties.

Playing the Anti-Evolutionary Psychology Game

The majority of climate scientists believe that the evidence supporting anthropogenic climate change is overwhelming. So can you imagine how frustrating it must be for them to repeatedly hear the mis- and dis-information about their discipline from climate change deniers? Evolutionary psychologists too face similar uninformed criticisms.

Going "Cold Tofu" to End Factory Farming

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 31, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Who we eat defines who we are in many significant ways. Our now 7 billion mouths are the center of our universe. There's no reason ever to eat animals from factory farms. Let's work together to end factory farming and reduce ecological devastation, human disease, and animal suffering, and add compassion to the world. Pick your reason and meal plan and it's easy to do.

Why Do Chicks Like Music? Why Does Any One?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on October 31, 2011 in Animals and Us
Barry Manilow explained! Scientists have found that the chicks are born with a preference for "easy listening." music. In their experiment...

If You Speak Negativity, It's Time to Learn a 2nd Language

Depression is triggered by interactions that leave you feeling a sense of loss, disappointment and hopelessness about getting what you want. Three speech patterns, which I call the 3-D's, are especially likely to trigger depressed feelings in the receiver. Do any of these sound familiar to you?

Can an Animal Be a "Slave"?

Yes, when I see elephants in chains, I do sometimes think they are "slaves"--or at least, "being treated like slaves." But I'm making species distinctions, and I don't know how to avoid that.

How Not to Enjoy Your Pregnancy

When a woman falls pregnant, the whole world gets OCD.

The Foster Care System and Its Victims: Part I

What happens when someone finds out a child has been abused? The difficult journey that leads a child to foster care is almost always a traumatic one.

Whales in Captivity: Are They Legally Slaves?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 26, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Does keeping whales (and perhaps other animals) in captivity violate the 13th Amendment ban on slavery? A pending lawsuit can change how we perceive and use other animals. It surely will lead to much needed discussion about the ways in which humans wantonly and routinely use and abuse animals in entertainment and in other venues.

Fish Don't Like Being Hooked

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 26, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Fish are sentient beings who don't like being hooked either in their mouth by a human or by other fish whom they punish when they steal their food.

Does Nonviolence Work? Notes from Occupy Oakland October 24th

By Miki Kashtan Ph.D. on October 25, 2011 in Acquired Spontaneity
People choose nonviolence either because it works, or because of deep values they have. In the case of the OccupyWallSt movement, the only chance that nonviolence will be adopted as a clear strategy is if people believe that it works. This requires understanding the fierce and active nature of deep nonviolence.

Chimpanzees and Meerkats: The Importance Of Accurate Media

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 24, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Chimpanzees may make for cute and catchy commercials but how they're represented can mislead an unknowing audience to believe they're doing just fine. They're not. Chimpanzees are highly endangered and could disappear very shortly from our one and only planet. Reliable media is essential for communicating just how imperiled they really are.

Are Black Dogs Less Lovable?

Shelter workers talk about the "Black Dog Syndrome" where black dogs are less likable and have a more difficult time getting adopted. Now there is data suggesting that this may be true.

"Discovering a New Passion Always Makes Me Happy"

By Gretchen Rubin on October 21, 2011 in The Happiness Project
Happiness interview: Grace Bonney.

Is Eating Dogs Different from Eating Cows and Pigs?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 20, 2011 in Animal Emotions
A cancelled dog-eating festival in China has raised strong world-wide protest as it should. And so should the horrific conditions in which factory farmed animals are forced to live before they go to slaughter and as they're being killed. We must face our choices in food head-on and be consistent about who winds up in our mouth.

Bloodbath in Ohio: Numerous Exotic Animals Killed After Being Freed

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 19, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Numerous exotic animals were killed in Ohio after they were released from a private reserve. No humans were attacked. It's too late to bring these animals back and give them the life they deserved. But regulations and laws about keeping unprotected exotic animals must be implemented and vigorously enforced.

The Two Serial Killers in My Life

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on October 19, 2011 in Animals and Us
I have known two serial killers. Derek Anderson was one of my students. He killed his father, his mother, his brother and the family dog. The other one is my cat....