Essential Reads

5 Reasons That Life Is Hard

Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life

Putting Music to the Words

Some species sing, some species call, but only humans do both

Why Lions and Tigers and Funny Names Make Us Happy

Changing lots of little things will help turn our jungles into Shangri-la

Chimpanzees and Cheesecake

What food calls tell us about the origins of speech

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

5 Reasons That Life Is Hard

If you're like me, you've got a computer, a smart phone, a TV, a couch, some pets, a great family, and lots of awesome things - but you still often find that life is hard. Evolutionary psychology can help explain why.

The Gold Standard for Healing the World...

Remember an incident when someone listened deeply to you and then talked with you when you were in a bad place. Would you want to honor that person if you could? If so, they would just want you to do onto someone else what they did onto you. Isn't that so?

Did Dogs Hack the Oxytocin Love Circuit?

A paper published today in the journal Science challenges us to consider whether every study that compares wolves and dogs can shed light on domestication.

Dogs, Humans, and the Oxytocin-Mediated Strong Social Bond

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new study has shown that mutual gazing by dogs but not wolves increases oxytocin levels in humans. To demonstrate there was a causal relationship, when oxytocin was administered to a new group of dogs before they interacted with their owners, the researchers saw an increase in the extent of mutual gaze between owners and dogs and an increase in oxytocin in the humans.

Why Writing for Psychology Today Is a Good Idea

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A recent essay called "Prof, no one is read you" shows why writing for popular audiences is more effective than publishing in professional journals. It turns out that "82 per cent of articles published in humanities are not even cited once. No one ever refers to 32 per cent of the peer-reviewed articles in the social and 27 per cent in the natural sciences."

Treatments Available to Long Term Abduction Victims

A variety of therapeutic techniques that focus on empowerment and reconnecting with family can help abduction victims heal.

Wildlife Services Slaughtered 2.7 Million Animals in 2014

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 15, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Wildlife Services, more appropriately called Murder Inc., wages a horrific war on all types of wildlife using inhumane and indiscriminate methods. In 2014 they killed 2,713,570 animals. Wildlife Services kills using taxpayers money and there is enormous collateral damage and what they call "unintentional killing." Fortunately, their killing ways are being scrutinized.

Is There an Epidemic of Fake Service Dogs?

In order to gain access to public places such as restaurants and hotels with their pets a number of people are purchasing service dog vests and meaningless assistance dog identification cards and certificates from commercial online service dog registries. These do not require that the dog be trained nor that the person have a disability.

Time to Tidy Up Your Head

By Susan B. Winston LMFT on April 13, 2015 in Shift Happens
When a book about tidying up your home hits the top of the best seller's list, there's got to be something worth reading in it. Or maybe this is just a wake up call for all of us to look at the kind of cleaning up we really need to do. The author asks that you completely empty your drawers and closets. I ask that you completely empty out your head.

"Squash It!”

We tend to focus on ‘squashing’ ‘bad’ behavior, A shift in perspective to examining the motivations behind the behavior may ultimately prove more useful.

Putting Music to the Words

By David Ludden Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in Talking Apes
In animal communication systems, you can have either syntax or semantics. Human language, however, integrates the two. As a result, our range of expression is almost limitless.

Gracing Clients’ Lives

Boomer died suddenly at age 9, leaving a trail of progeny and well wishes for his therapy work with clients.

Understanding Behavior via the ToK System

By Gregg Henriques on April 11, 2015 in Theory of Knowledge
Think you know what the term behavior means? Guess again. However, the unified approach helps make sense out of this central concept.

Why Lions and Tigers and Funny Names Make Us Happy

What are the little things in your room and your life telling you?

Is Competition Between Men Healthy?

In moderation, competition is a normal, healthy human expression and way to strengthen ourselves. But it is not uncommon for competition to be taken to extremes, and manipulated to feed a man’s ego. If left unaddressed, unhealthy competitiveness can lead towards detrimental relationships and other long-term problems for men.

Chimpanzees and Cheesecake

By David Ludden Ph.D. on April 07, 2015 in Talking Apes
Chimpanzees use sound symbols to communicate about food.

Worms Sniff Out Cancer in Urine Better than Blood Tests

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 03, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Researchers using what they call a Nematode Scent Detection Test (NSDT) discovered that its sensitivity was 95.8% and "this is markedly higher than that of other existing tumour markers." Who would have thought a roundworm could be such a reliable cancer detector? I think the discovery of this new test should be made widely known.

Cultural Differences

While attributing human characteristics to animals is cute in movies, and potentially a cause of misunderstanding between the species, it can be useful to help humans understand our 'cultural differences'.

Do We Project Our Own Personalities Onto Our Dogs' Behavior?

Dogs can be a sort of psychological mirror since people sometimes use their own personality tendencies to fill in the gaps when trying to interpret ambiguous dog behaviors.

The Modern Savage: A New Book Questions Why We Eat Animals

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in Animal Emotions
James McWilliams' book "The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals" is a very thoughtful work about our meal plans where he covers the ecological and ethical reasons for not eating other animals and shows that labels such as "cage free," "free range," and "humanely raised" are not necessarily sound and ethical. There's a good life beyond beef and after meat.

The Emotional Lives of Rats: Rats Read Pain in Others' Faces

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new study shows that rats are able to read the pain that other rats are suffering. When are those people who are responsible for writing legislation to protect animals from invasive and abusive research going to use the scientific information that is readily available to protect them from unnecessary harm, pain, and death? The federal Animal Welfare Act is lame.

Announcing a New Journal in Psychology

By Jesse Marczyk on March 31, 2015 in Pop Psych
It's time to fix the false positive problem in psychology.

Can You Ever Mend A Broken Heart?

Animals and people can die of a broken heart. The pain and grief we feel when we lose a loved one activates some of the same brain areas as those that formed that love in the first place. Moving forward with the scars of loves we have lost can make us wary of opening up to new relationships.

What Pet Owners Can't Know About Their Pets

By Peg Streep on March 31, 2015 in Tech Support
Dog owners universally ascribe complex emotions to their furry companions. But what's really going on? Do dogs feel what we think they feel or are we all just projecting?

Do Orcas Go Crazy Because of Petting Pools and False Hopes?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Orcas who lived in petting pools show higher levels of aggression than other killer whales. This essay lays out the details of what is known about aggressive encounters and early experience. It is objectively clear that there is a correlation between “petting pool” history and significant later orca aggression. Now we need to know more about why this is so.

Can You Stop Thinking?

By Steve Taylor Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Out of the Darkness
Why do our minds chatter away so much? Why involuntary mental chatter is bad for us, and how can we quieten it.

Monkey Business

By David Ludden Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Talking Apes
Humans have a number of brain regions that are dedicated to language processing, but other primates also have these same neural structures.

Thousands of Cormorants to be Killed: There Will be Blood

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 28, 2015 in Animal Emotions
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to perform a heinous experiment that includes killing 11,000 cormorants and destroying 26,000 nests to save salmon despite experts arguing that killing the cormorants is wrong and won't work. Conservation has a bloody history and there simply is no reason to continue these killing ways.

Violent Expression: Sign of Our Deep Need to Communicate?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on March 26, 2015 in The Dolphin Divide
When notions of fair play are violated, our ability to speak helps keep the peace. We are capable of sudden, violent physical outbursts, but calm expressions of anger through language can keep us from resorting to brute force – sometimes.