Categories
Philosophy Psychology

Disgusting Animals: what underlies the ‘Eeeww’ factor?

Do slugs disgust you?

How about dog poo, or road kill?

Tyler (T.J.) Kasperbauer gained his PhD in Philosophy from Texas A&M University where he wrote a dissertation on moral psychology and animal ethics.

He is currently completing post-doctoral research at the University of Copenhagen, working with the well-known Peter Sandøe.

T.J.’s main areas of research are applied animal and environmental ethics, moral psychology, and philosophy of psychology.

In this episode, we explore his interesting research into the area of disgusting animals and their traits, why they disgust us, why they should, and what it means for people’s relationships with them.

Podcasts

Publications

T.J.Kasperbauer - Why do animals disgust us / disgusting animals
T.J.Kasperbauer

Kasperbauer, T. J. (2015). Animals as disgust elicitorsBiology & Philosophy,30(2), 167-185.

Kasperbauer, T. J. (2014). Rejecting Empathy for Animal EthicsEthical Theory and Moral Practice, 1-17.

Kasperbauer, T.J. (2014). Perceiving Nonhumans: Human Moral Psychology and Animal Ethics. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University.

Links

T.J. Kasperbauer personal website

T.J. on Twitter

Categories
Health Pets Psychology Research

Just walking the dog: what promotes healthy humans?

Did you know scientists are studying the ways that you walk your dog?

What motivates you, how long you exercise for, what features (like footpaths and dog parks) promote human activity – all these questions and more, are being studied by researchers, Hayley Christian and Carri Westgarth.

Hayley’s background in human health teamed with Carri’s expertise in canine behaviour and welfare have created a research team exploring the human, dog and environmental factors that best promote active and healthy communities.

Podcast

Publications

Dog walking benefits! Dr Carri Westgarth & Dr Hayley Christian
Dr. Carri Westgarth & Dr. Hayley Christian

Westgarth, C., Christley, R. M., & Christian, H. E. (2014). How might we increase physical activity through dog walking?: A comprehensive review of dog walking correlatesInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity11(1), 83. [PDF]

Christian, H., Trapp, G., Villanueva, K., Zubrick, S. R., Koekemoer, R., & Giles-Corti, B. (2014). Dog walking is associated with more outdoor play and independent mobility for childrenPreventive medicine67, 259-263.

Westgarth, C., Christley, R. M., & Christian, H. E. (2014). How can we motivate owners to walk their dogs more? Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research9(6), e6-e7.

Christian, H. E., Westgarth, C., Bauman, A., Richards, E. A., Rhodes, R., Evenson, K. R., & Thorpe, R. J. (2013). Dog ownership and physical activity: a review of the evidence. J Phys Act Health10(5), 750-759.

Westgarth, C., Boddy, L. M., Stratton, G., German, A. J., Gaskell, R. M., Coyne, K. P., & Dawson, S. (2013). A cross-sectional study of frequency and factors associated with dog walking in 9–10 year old children in Liverpool, UKBMC public health13(1), 822.

Morrison, R., Reilly, J. J., Penpraze, V., Westgarth, C., Ward, D. S., Mutrie, N., & Yam, P. S. (2013). Children, parents and pets exercising together (CPET): exploratory randomised controlled trialBMC public health13(1), 1096.

Christian, H., Giles-Corti, B., & Knuiman, M. (2010). “I’m Just a’‐Walking the Dog” Correlates of Regular Dog WalkingFamily & community health33(1), 44-52.

For more publications, please see the researcher’s university profiles below.

Links

Hayley Christian: University of Western Australia profile

Carri Westgarth: University of Liverpool (UK) profile

Header image: Flickr/Stefan Mortellaro

Categories
Psychology Therapy

Serious fun: animal assisted play therapy

Most of us know that playing with dogs and horses can be fun, but have you ever considered how important animal-assisted play might be in psychological therapy for people?

Dr. Risë VanFleet is the Founder of the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center in the United States, an organisation specialising in the training and supervision of child, family, and play therapy professionals, as well as the provision of mental health services for children and families.

She is a psychologist and author of several books, who focuses on strengthening family relationships through play, and has specialties in chronic medical illness, disaster mental health, child and family trauma and attachment interventions using play therapy, filial therapy, and the training and involvement of animals in assisted play therapy.

It’s this area of using animals, particularly dogs and horses, in play as a mode of therapy for people that we learn about with Risë in this episode.

Podcast

Publications

Dr. Risë VanFleet - Animal assisted play therapy
Dr. Risë VanFleet

VanFleet, R. (2008) Play Therapy with Kids and Canines: Benefits for Children’s Developmental and Psychosocial Health. Professional Resource Press (Book)

VanFleet, R. & Faa-Thompson, T. (2012) The power of play, multiplied. Play Therapy, 70, 7-10. (PDF)

VanFleet, R., & Faa-Thompson, T. (2010). The case for using animal-assisted play therapyBritish Journal of Play Therapy6, 4-18. (PDF)

Thompson, M. J. (2009). Animal-assisted play therapy: Canines as co-therapistsCompelling counseling interventions: VISTAS, 199-209. (PDF)

Odendaal, J. (2000). Animal-assisted therapy—magic or medicine? Journal of psychosomatic research49(4), 275-280.

Links

Risë VanFleet’s website: www.risevanfleet.com

Playful Pooch animal-assisted therapy website

The Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool (CARAT)


Header image: Flickr/Matteo Paciotti

Categories
Psychology

Positive psychology: identifying how we thrive

Dr. Pauleen Bennett is Director of Regional Operations in the School of Psychological Science at La Trobe University.

Pauleen combines her academic work at La Trobe with a range of community activities designed to improve human-companion animal relationships.

She leads a highly productive team of researchers at the Anthrozoology Research Group and is director and chair of the Australian Anthrozoology Research Foundation, a non-profit foundation set up to raise money to support students investigating the potential benefits for human health of engaging with companion animals.

Pauleen has adjunct appointments at Monash University and The Ohio State University (USA) and enjoys spending her free time hanging out on her farm with her dogs, horses and goats.

In this episode (#19) we talk to Pauleen about the exciting but relatively new field of positive psychology.

Podcast

Publications

Dr Pauleen Bennett- What is anthrozoology - positive psychology in animals
Dr. Pauleen Bennett

Bennett, P. C. (2013) Why science can’t really tell us whether pets are good for health. The Conversation.

King, T., Marston, L.C., and Bennett, P.C. (2012). Breeding dogs for beauty and behaviour: why scientists need to do more to develop valid and reliable behaviour assessments for dogs kept as companions. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 137, 1-12.

Bennett, P.C. (2010). Putting the pieces together: using science to improve relationships between people and their canine companions. Canine Science Forum, July 25-28, Vienna, Austria.

Bennett, P.C. (2010). People, pets and positive psychology (transcribed from Radio Australia). Second Australian Positive Psychology and Well-Being Conference, February 12-13, Caulfield, Victoria, Australia.

McGreevy, P.M., & Bennett, P.C. (2010). Challenges and paradoxes in the companion-animal niche. Animal Welfare, 19, 11-16

Many more publications available via Pauleen’s LaTrobe University Profile

Links

Anthrozoology Research Group | ARG on Facebook | ARG  on TwitterAARF on Twitter

Pauleen on YouTube for AARF

Dr. Pauleen Bennet on YouTube – What is Anthrozoology?

Header image: Flickr/bunchesandbits

Categories
Psychology

Sam Gosling: Animal personality

Sam Gosling is a psychologist based at the University of Texas at Austin in the USA.

His research interests include social perception, new methods of data collection online and cross-species work, where he examines how animals can inform theories of personality and social psychology.

We talked with Sam about how science can help us measure animal personality traits (non-human) across a number of species, including hyenas, dogs, and even invertebrates, like squid.

Podcast

Publications

Sam Gosling discusses animal personalities
Sam Gosling

Gosling, S. D., & John, O. P. (1999). Personality dimensions in nonhuman animals a cross-species reviewCurrent Directions in Psychological Science,8(3), 69-75.

Gosling, S. D. (2001). From mice to men: what can we learn about personality from animal research?. Psychological bulletin127(1), 45.

Gosling, S. D., & Vazire, S. (2002). Are we barking up the right tree? Evaluating a comparative approach to personality. Journal of Research in Personality,36(6), 607-614.

Gosling, S. D. (2008). Personality in Non‐human AnimalsSocial and Personality Psychology Compass2(2), 985-1001.

Sinn, D. L., Gosling, S. D., & Hilliard, S. (2010). Personality and performance in military working dogs: Reliability and predictive validity of behavioral tests. Applied Animal Behaviour Science127(1), 51-65.

Links

Gosling Lab at the University of Texas, Austin


Top image via Flickr/malingering

Categories
Psychology

Animal attraction & human animal interaction: positive youth development

Dr Megan Mueller is a developmental psychologist working in the Cummings School of veterinary medicine at Tufts University (USA).

Megan’s own passion for animals led her to scientifically examine the roles they play in human health and positive development for children, families and communities.

In this episode of Human Animal Science, we speak to Megan about her recent research looking at human animal interaction and positive youth development.

Podcast

Links

Megan Mueller - Animal attraction and human animal interaction
Megan Mueller

Megan Mueller – Tufts University Profile

Publications

Mueller, M. K. (2014). Is Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) Linked to Positive Youth Development? Initial Answers. Applied Developmental Science18(1), 5-16.

Mueller, M. K. (2014). The Relationship between Types of Human–Animal Interaction and Attitudes about Animals: An Exploratory Study. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals27(2), 295-308.

Mueller, M. K. (2014). Human-Animal Interaction as a Context for Positive Youth Development: A Relational Developmental Systems Approach to Constructing Human-Animal Interaction Theory and Research. Human Development57(1), 5-25.

More of Megan’s publications via Google Scholar


Photo: Flickr/stuckincustoms

Categories
Psychology

Hal Herzog: animals, culture & us

Hal Herzog is recognised as one of the world’s leading anthrozoology experts, having researched human-animal relations for over two decades.

He is particularly interested in how people negotiate real-world ethical dilemmas, and has studied animal activists, cockfighters, animal researchers and circus animal trainers.

A professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, Hal blogs at Psychology Today and his work has been widely published in journals and books.

It was our absolute pleasure to talk with Hal about some of the themes from his book, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: why it’s so hard to think straight about animals.

Amongst many tangents, we discuss why people keep pets, charismatic mega-fauna and the variation in the way humans relate to animals across cultures.

Podcast

Publications

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: why it’s so hard to think straight about animals – Amazon Australia, Amazon US.

Knight, S., & Herzog, H. (2009). All creatures great and small: New perspectives on psychology and human–animal interactions. Journal of Social Issues65(3), 451-461.

Herzog, H. A. (2007) Gender differences in human-animal interactions: A review.  Anthrozoos. 20:17-21.

Other publications via WCU website

Links

Western Carolina University Profile

Twitter: @herzoghal

Psychology Today Blog: Animals and Us

Categories
Psychology

Animal hoarding: a complex mess

Dr Kersti Seksel, registered specialist in veterinary behaviour medicine and behavioural science major in human psychology, explains the complicated and sensitive topic of animal hoarding.

This issue is difficult to research and complex to resolve, but help is available.

Find out more about animal hoarding in our interview with Kersti.

Podcast

Links

RSPCA: Animal Hoarding information

The hoarding of animals research consortium (Tufts University)

Snowdon, J., Halliday, G., & Banerjee, S. (2012). Severe Domestic Squalor. Cambridge University Press. Chapter 5: Animal Hoarding.

Get help and support by visiting your GP doctor, or contact:

Beyond Blue

Lifeline


Image credit: Banksy via Flickr/JoelRae

Categories
Anthropology Pets Psychology Research

Anthropomorphism: are we guilty?

Are we guilty of anthropomorphism in dogs? As dog owners it’s very easy to humanise our pets.

Julie Hecht, MSc, is a researcher and science writer fascinated not just by animal behaviour and welfare, but how we think about animals and the consequences of those thoughts.

Take anthropomorphism (attributing human characteristics to animals or objects) as a key example.

In this episode of Human Animal Science we explore what actually happens when we think that dog is guilty; or that cat is grumpy.

We discuss why we anthropomorphise and how it impacts on the animals.

Podcast

What is anthropomorphism in dogs?

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to non-human entities.

In dogs, it can manifest as attributing emotions such as love, loyalty, and happiness to dogs, or expecting dogs to understand and communicate with us in ways that they do not. At least not in the same ways we do.

Do dogs know the difference between humans and dogs?

Dogs are intelligent creatures who are capable of complex social interaction, which means they’re able to pick up on our cues and learn from us.

However, studies show dogs actually see us as a member of their pack, not a separate species.

This means dogs do not necessarily know the difference between humans and dogs, but are capable of forming attachments to both.

Links

Dog Spies: www.dogspies.com  |  Dog Spies Blog on Scientific American

Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab (Barnard College, Columbia University, New York)

The Bark magazine

Do You Believe in Dog?

Publications

Hecht, Miklosi, & Gacsi (2012) Behavioral assessment and owner perceptions of behaviors associated with guilt in dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 139. 134-142.

Do dogs feel guilty? Jason Goldman | Scientific American

Hecht & Horowitz (2012) Physical prompts to anthropomorphism of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) Third Canine Science Forum, Barcelona, Spain. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8, e30.

Horowitz (2009) Disambiguating the “guilty look”: Salient prompts to a familiar dog behavior. Behavioural Processes, 81, 447-452.

Horowitz (2007) Naturalizing anthropomorphism: Behavioral prompts to our humanizing of animals. Anthrozoös, 20, 23-35.

Image credit: Flickr/Brainware3000