Behaviour

Published on January 22nd, 2015 | by admin

Is your dog optimistic? Cognitive bias in animals

Does your pet have a glass half full, or glass half empty take on life? It’s a recent discovery that many animals can be optimistic or pessimistic based on their experiences. Dr Melissa Starling holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and recently gained her PhD from the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney with a topic that covered elements of dog behaviour, personality, emotions and cognition. She has long had a passion for animal behaviour and animal training that has intensified as she learns more. In this episode, we talk to Mel about her PhD research investigating optimism and pessimism – or cognitive bias – in dogs.

Listen to this episode:


Mel

Dr Melissa Starling and her dogs

Publications:
Starling, M. J., Branson, N., Cody, D., Starling, T. R., & McGreevy, P. D. (2014). Developing an optimism index using results from a cognitive bias taskJournal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9(6), e17-e18.

Starling, M. J., Branson, N., Cody, D., Starling, T. R., & McGreevy, P. D. (2014). Canine Sense and Sensibility: Tipping Points and Response Latency Variability as an Optimism Index in a Canine Judgement Bias AssessmentPloS one, 9(9), e107794.

Starling, M. J., Branson, N., Cody, D., & McGreevy, P. D. (2013). Conceptualising the Impact of Arousal and Affective State on Training Outcomes of Operant Conditioning. Animals, 3(2), 300-317.

McGreevy, P. D., Starling, M., Branson, N. J., Cobb, M. L., & Calnon, D. (2012). An overview of the dog–human dyad and ethograms within it. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 7(2), 103-117.

Links:
Melissa Starling on Twitter (@dogoptimism)

Creature Teacher (personal website)

Dog Optimism (research website)

Dog Optimism on ABC Catalyst

Cover image: Flickr/hoodsie




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