Airdate: Feb 09, 2012
Scientist: Brian Hare
KSC: Animal Smarts - Why We Study Their Intelligence
Understanding how a dog thinks can ultimately help people that depend on canine assistance.
Animal Smarts Why We Study Their Intelligence
Music; Ambience: Dog Barks
Why study the ways that animals think? Well by knowing more about the psychology of dogs, for example, we may end up helping both the dogs and ourselves. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Hare: So, the thing that's really important to know about studying animal psychology is it ends up that animals are in all of our lives, more than you might think.
Brian Hare is an evolutionary biologist at Duke University.
Hare: For instance, dogs actually have more jobs today than before. They're busier than they were, ever, in the history of mankind. It ends up that dogs are so smart and so flexible that they have more and more jobs all the time. People have found out that dogs can help detect when other people are sick- they can smell when you're sick. People have found that dogs can really help people who have problems in their social lives- people who are scared or who are afraid of different things in their life- that dogs can really help them. And people have found that dogs of course are really good with helping people who have handicaps or people who are blind. But one of the things that is really useful about studying animal psychology is that it's actually very difficult and to train a dog, to teach a dog, and to have a dog go through school and pass so that they're skilled at helping people. So, we try to understand how do dogs think? So that we can help the teachers who teach dogs do a better job and be more successful at having more dogs who can help us. So that's one of the most important things that we can potentially do studying animal psychology is by understanding how animals think we can help them do a better job helping us.
Have you been helped by your dog? Search for Pulse of the Planet on Facebook and tell us about it. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.