Does your dog have thoughts and feelings? How about your cat? In this episode we find out what scientists have to say about how we should study this question. I also review a fascinating new study by Dr. Alexandra Horowitz of Barnard College who studied whether or not dogs who have that guilty look actually do feel guilty. We take a look at the idea of anthropomorphism and your dog in this episode of The Psych Files.
Resources on Anthropomorphism and Animal Emotions
- The research I reviewed in this episode is entitled, "Disambiguating the “guilty look”: Salient prompts to a familiar dog behaviour" in Behavioural Processes, Volume 81, Issue 3, July 2009, Pages 447-452 by Alexandra Horowitz.
- Here’s where you can find more information about Dr. Horowtiz and her Dog Cognition Lab can be found here.
- Here’s a link to the article entitled "It’s an Owner’s Scolding That Makes a ‘Guilty’ Dog" that appeared in the New York Times
- Science Daily also wrote an article reviewing Dr. Horowitz’ research on the Guilty Dog look entitled "What Really Prompts The Dog’s ‘Guilty Look‘"
- What are Animals? Why Anthropomorphism is Still Not a Scientiﬁc Approach to Behavior, Clive D. L. Wynne, Comparative Cognition and Behavior, 2007, vol 2, pp 125-135.
- Critical Anthropomorphism, Uncritical Anthropocentrism, and Naïve Nominalism, Gordon M. Burghardt, Comparative Cognition and Behavior, 2007, vol 2, pp 136-138.