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Posts Tagged "research methods"

The Thoughtful Animal

Searching for the Social in Contagious Yawning

baby yawning

Evidence has been accumulating for several years that contagious yawning is driven by social cognition. But how? And is it related to empathy? A new study with chimpanzees sheds some light.

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The Thoughtful Animal

Cognitive Chickens and Memorable Sea Slugs

baby chicken

There is a rich tradition in psychology and neuroscience of using animals as models for understanding humans. Humans, after all, are enormously complicated creatures to begin even from a strictly biological perspective. Tacking on the messiness that comes with culture makes the study of the human mind tricky, at best. So, just as biomedical scientists [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

The WEIRD Psychology of Elephants

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

In 1976, psychologists John and Sandra Condry of Cornell University had 204 human adults view videotaped footage of an infant boy named David and infant girl named Dana, and asked them to describe the infants’ facial expressions and dispositions. They described their findings in an article in the journal Child Development. In the video, infants [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

The Average Bear Is Smarter Than You Thought

black bear

Yogi Bear always claimed that he was smarter than the average bear, but the average bear appears to be smarter than once thought. Psychologists Jennifer Vonk of Oakland University and Michael J. Beran of Georgia State University have taken a testing methodology commonly used for primates and shown not only that the methodology can be [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Contagious Yawning: Evidence of Empathy?

baby yawning

When is a yawn just a yawn? When is a yawn more than a yawn? Contagious yawning – the increase in likelihood that you will yawn after watching or hearing someone else yawn – has been of particular interest to researchers in fields as varied as primatology, developmental psychology, and psychopathology. At first, scientists thought [...]

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