Essential Reads

Is Sadomasochism a Uniquely Human Form of Sexuality?

Kinky sex is common in animals, but do they ever find pleasure in pain?

Are Humans Unique?

Are there criteria that distinguish humans from other species?

Can Dogs Recognize Emotions Just by Looking at a Human Face?

Dogs understand that smile or scowl on your face.

It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It

Language is mainly about building and maintaining social relationships.

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

The One Best Reason to Fall in Love

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 15, 2014 in Ambigamy
Partnership is the best way to learn a lesson we all need: how to avoid over-reacting to a perceived threat. It's a lesson in threat management, and negotiating a mutual sense of safety and freedom.

Anything Can Happen at Any Time

By Toni Bernhard J.D. on September 14, 2014 in Turning Straw Into Gold
“Anything can happen at any time” is a comment made by one of my favorite Buddhist teachers—Joseph Goldstein. A few weeks ago, Joseph’s words were driven home to me. It was early on a Sunday morning and my new puppy Scout had just turned five months old...

Socialization: When To Do It And When Not To Do It

Dr. Levine comments on aspects of socialization that every dog owner should know

Can Dogs Get Infected by the Ebola Virus?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on September 12, 2014 in Canine Corner
Ebola is a deadly zoonotic disease which can be passed from one species to another. Are dogs susceptible to it? Can they spread it to other animals or humans?

Fish Rival Chimpanzees in Forming Cooperative Relationships

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 11, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Trout seek out moray eels with whom to cooperate to get a meal. The trout use head shakes and headstands to tell the eel where the prey is hiding. In addition, the trout know when they need a collaborator and pick the best eel with whom to work. The fish perform as well, if not better, than chimpanzees in similar collaborative tasks. Brain size doesn't matter.

Peacemaking Among Primates

Hey, it's only a game!

How Animals Help Regulate Mental Health

I speak from experience--my own and my child’s--when I say that sometimes the Fluff Therapist beats the psychotherapist and the psychopharmacologist, hands down. You should retain both of these, of course--but what’s great about Ginger or Max is that their caseload is guaranteed to be really, really low. And it goes without saying they take your insurance.

Why We Make Mistakes

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 10, 2014 in Ambigamy
Atoms and molecules never make mistakes, but life does. Why is that? Because of the difference between physical and living behavior, worth understanding so you don't take more credit for success and more blame for error than is your due.

The Dog Movie Star Effect: Is It Real?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on September 10, 2014 in Animals and Us
In 1943, MGM released the movie Lassie Come Home. In the three years after the release of the movie, the number of Collies registered with the American Kennel Club jumped from about 2,000 to over 15,000 puppies a year. But was this sudden in the desire of Americans to live with a collie a coincidence or was it an example of the “dog movie star effect.”

The Heart Beneath That Hard Shell

By Judith Coche Ph.D., ABPP on September 07, 2014 in No Ordinary Life
As part of a vast assortment of legitimate ways to love one another, turtle owners Karin and Charlie love their turtle family and are loved in return. Love lives beneath our emotional shells just as it thrives under the very hard turtle shells of a love triangle.

The Psychology Behind Hoarding

America's fascination with hoarding reveals a growing epidemic; it's estimated that one in every fifty people struggles with severe hoarding. Understanding the causes and symptoms of chronic hoarding may help you prevent the accumulation.

Is Verbal Praise Enough Reward for Dog Obedience Training?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on September 03, 2014 in Canine Corner
Old-style dog training relied mostly on verbal praise and occasional petting as rewards. Just how effective are those techniques?

Dogs, Dumbness, and Dominance, Redux

By Mark Derr on September 03, 2014 in Dog's Best Friend
New studies claim dogs from the start were bred to be dumb and obey humans while forming dominance hierarchies.

The Future of Human Uniqueness

By Thomas Suddendorf Ph.D. on September 03, 2014 in Uniquely Human
Planet of the apes? What will happen to human’s special status on Earth?

5 Steps for Getting Through Any Difficult Situation

By Howard C. Samuels Psy.D. on September 02, 2014 in The Beast Within
You're made of heartier stock than you've ever imagined; you just need to tap into that strength -- that power -- and begin the process of building a new life, one where you are the wholly responsible for what happens to you. I've compiled five vital points for you to remember and use as you sift through the rubble of your own "lifequake" and begin the next chapter of life

Read This Before Having an Affair

Read This Before Having an Affair. We can get easily lost in the “Bermuda Triangle of Love.” By David Braucher, L.C.S.W., Ph.D.

The Truth About Positive Reinforcement

There are so many choices in techniques when training dogs. Here Dr. Haug explores a few of the myths and the facts about dog training methods.

Beware the Beachmasters

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on September 01, 2014 in The Political Animal
Happy Labor Day; have fun on the beach. But remember that Charles Atlases--human and otherwise--do best where 97 pound weaklings are unable to run away.

How to Create a Successful Working Dog

Some unexpected factors that are important in training a working dog include the owner's personality and the amount of exercise that the dog gets.

Are Colleges Policing Our Thinking?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on August 28, 2014 in The Dolphin Divide
The psychology of crime prevention. “C’mon, punk, make my day” sounds just right when accompanied by a cold stare and a very large hand gun, but there’s little room for Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry on today’s college campuses, where police are turning to behavioral psychology to keep the peace.

Does Media Violence Breed Real Life Killing?

Terrorism from abroad scares us, and yet the larger danger may be the terrorists we inadvertently are breeding within our own families and communities. Over 1000 research studies have clarified a frightening reality. Fortunately, there's lots you can do about it.

Holding a Mirror Up to "White Hat Bias" in Research

A recently identified bias, so-called “White Hat Bias” originally found in research studies on obesity, may be seen in the extraordinary hype given to mirror neurons, those cells, originally discovered in macaque monkeys, that fire when a monkey performs an action as well as when the monkey sees an action performed by the examiner.

Sick and Tired of Your Messy Place?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 25, 2014 in How To Do Life
If your home would give Martha Stewart the shivers.

Dogs: Do They Really "Play Dumb" For Us?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 24, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Do dogs really dumb down to please us? Despite claims that they do, this sweeping conclusion is premature given existing data. Furthermore, given that there is incredible variability among different breeds and among individuals of the same breed, talking about "the dog" (or "the wolf") could surely be terribly misleading. Maybe individual dogs do, but we really don't know.

The Lovely Missy Rose Diaries, Part 3

In the final blog of the lovely Miss Rose, Dr. Karen Overall details how her early life effected her brain development and therefore molded her behavior.

Birds and Us: Should Cormorants Be Killed to Save Salmon?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 22, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Two recent essays and an excellent book highlight how we view these magnificent animals and why birds and other animals are so important to us and to Earth's magnificent diverse ecosystems. We can and must do better in our interactions with other animals. We owe it to them and of course we owe it to ourselves and to future generations.

Age and Leadership: The Wisdom of Elders and Elephants

By Mark van Vugt Ph.D. on August 22, 2014 in Naturally Selected
In an era of change and innovation do businesses and societies still need older leaders or should they go for the young and bright? Understanding the relation between age and leadership.


By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 22, 2014 in How To Do Life
17 antidotes to apathy.

Sperm: Group Living Swimmers Come Together and Arrive Early

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 21, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Group living sperm, when compared to single sperm, swim in a straighter line in a promiscuous species of mice to reduce competition. Thus, group living sperm arrive at their destination sooner than solo sperm, not because they swim faster, but because they travel a shorter distance.

4 Ways to Start Simplifying Your Life

By Robert Biswas-Diener on August 20, 2014 in Significant Results
Here are 4 ways to simplify your life.