Source: JackieLou DL/Pixabay Can dogs identify our emotional state by scent alone? Back in the 1970s I had a conversation with a colleague from the University of Utah who studied lie detection. He told me "I have been talking to some dog handlers who work for the police and they suggested to me that dogs might turn out to be good at lie detection. After all, the polygraph that we use to detect lies is simply measuring a cluster of physiological changes associated with stress. It's looking for changes in heart rate, muscle tension, breathing patterns, increased sweating and that sort of thing that might indicate anxiety and thus a lie. These police canine officers believe that their dogs know when someone is lying . They reason that this is because when people are fearful and stressed over the possibility that their guilty behavior might be discovered, their body chemistry might change a wee bit, enough at least to alter the odor of their sweat. Since dogs are so good at … [Read more...] about Do Dogs React to the Scent of Human Fear?
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Source: Adrian Scottow photo Consider the situation where you walk into your house only to find your dog is standing next to a puddle of urine. The dog looks at you, hangs his head low and stares down at its feet. How would you interpret the dog's behavior? Is this dog acting as if he were feeling guilty? Some new research published in the journal Anthrozoos suggests that to your interpretation of your dog's behavior in this case may actually be a more accurate reflection of your own personality rather than a good description of which emotions the dog may actually be experiencing. Christina Brown and Julia McLean of the Department of Psychology at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania, wanted to test to see if people project their own personality traits onto their dogs. These researchers feel that this may be part of the process by which we anthropomorphize animals. Anthropomorphism refers to our tendency to treat animals as if they are much like humans, and have very much … [Read more...] about Do We Project Our Own Personalities Onto Our Dogs’ Behavior?
Source: Sulamunn Coleman, used with permission Narcissistic people can be difficult to interact with, especially if you are close to them during social distancing. However, many do not have the ability to remove themselves from situations or places where narcissistic people are. Here are some insights into how narcissism can impact COVID-19 and what to do about it. Dr. Sulamunn (Sully) Coleman received his Ph.D. in biobehavioral health from Pennsylvania State University. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Vermont Center on Behavior and Health . His research focuses on examining individual differences in health risk and resilience , developing strategies to promote health behavior change. Last year he received the Early Career Research Award from the Cardiovascular Research Institute of Vermont to investigate the use of financial incentives to help cardiac patients quit smoking . Jamie Aten: How would you personally define … [Read more...] about How Narcissism Can Make COVID-19 Worse
Source: Zoosnow/Pexels There are a flock of behavioral issues in dogs that often cause their owners to seek professional help. The most common problems are aggression toward people or dogs, chasing cars or animals, general fearfulness, separation anxiety , poor trainability, excessive barking, and fear of being touched. Fortunately, in the majority of cases, professional remediation works and the behaviors which are driving their owners to distraction do diminish. In some cases, the improvement is dramatic, while, unfortunately, in others there is little or no progress. A team of researchers led by Lauren Powell of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine decided to see which factors predicted the success or failure of using behavior modification to get rid of bad canine behaviors. The study enlisted 131 dogs and their owners, who had been referred to the Behavior Medicine Service of the Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. The … [Read more...] about Why Some Bad Dog Behaviors Are Hard to Fix
Source: Bicanski/Pixnio CC0 There is already a lot of data which has indicated that living with a pet dog is improves both psychological and physical health . The current global pandemic has shifted the spotlight onto whether pets improve the welfare of older adults who are now more socially isolated than ever. Unfortunately there is a long history of studies which indicate that social isolation in later life is linked to various adverse psychological and health-related outcomes, such as cardiovascular impairment, chronic pain , loneliness, and depression . A number of writers, especially those in the popular press, have suggested that pet ownership is one way to alleviate the negative effects of social isolation. However if you scan the media there is a tendency to suggest that any pet, whether dog, cat, hamster, bird or even fish, might fill the need for companionship and thus help to offset deterioration in mental health. However there have been some hints that dogs … [Read more...] about Are Dogs or Cats Better for the Mental Health of Seniors?