Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #401
CE Offered: BACB

A Behavior Analyst Goes to the Dogs

Monday, May 26, 2014
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
W178a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
CE Instructor: Carol Pilgrim, Ph.D.
Chair: Carol Pilgrim (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
CLIVE WYNNE (Arizona State University)
Dr. Clive Wynne is currently a professor of psychology at the Arizona State University, where he directs the Canine Science Collaboratory, and is director of research at Wolf Park in Indiana. He was educated at University College London and Edinburgh University in Scotland and has studied animal behavior in Britain, Germany, the U.S., and Australia in species ranging from pigeons to dunnarts (a mouse-sized marsupial). Several years ago, he founded the Canine Cognition and Behavior Lab at the University of Florida, dedicated to the study of dogs and their wild relatives. As well as numerous scientific papers, he also has written for American Scientist, The New York Times, and other outlets. He is often quoted in print media and radio, and his science has been featured on several TV shows such as National Geographic and Nova ScienceNow. He is the author of a textbook Animal Cognition (now in its second edition, with co-author Monique Udell) and Do Animals Think? (Princeton University Press, 2004). He is editor in chief of the journal Behavioural Processes.

Although the scientific analysis of behavior started with dogs in Pavlov's laboratory more than a century ago, the use of behavior analytic tools to understand dog behavior, and the relationship between dogs and people, has lagged behind other approaches to canine behavior. In the past two decades, wide currency has been given to the view that dogs co-evolved human-like social cognition alongside people in human domiciles more than 10,000 years ago. The evolution of novel cognitive instincts, it is claimed, has given dogs unique abilities to understand human actions and intentions. Dr. Wynne will review findings from his laboratory indicating that the person-reading skills people perceive in their dogs are real but they are not unique to dogs: Hand-reared wolves are just as successful in responding to human actions. Furthermore, these skills are the outcome of familiar processes of operant and Pavlovian conditioning and social imprinting. This is shown in the poor performance of dog pups, in the consistent improvement in pet dogs subject to repeated testing, and in the initially poor but easily redeemed performance of dogs at a county shelter. He also will present novel approaches to dog behavioral problems such as thunder phobia and stereotypic behaviors derived from applied behavior analysis.

Keyword(s): animal cognition, canine behavior, canine stereotypy, wolves



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