Dogs have long been called man’s best friend, but now there’s scientific research behind it.
Julia Meyers-Manor, Ripon College assistant professor of psychology, will give a free educational talk Thursday, Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m. on her research on dog empathy and whether people's best friends really do feel their pain.
Meyers-Manor's research interests are in emotion and cognition in non-human animals. As a professional dog trainer, she has particular interests in understanding dog cognition, as well as behavior problems. Her research shows that dogs respond with comfort to an individual who was crying whether that person was their owner or a complete stranger.
“Dogs have been companions to humans for over 15,000 years, but how has that relationship influenced a dog's ability to understand human emotions? Understanding empathy in dogs may help us in understanding the roots of human empathy and the consequences of using dogs as our emotional supports,” Meyers-Manor said.
Meyers-Manor’s work has garnered widespread attention nationally and internationally, including coverage from Time, NBC News, Inside Edition, the Daily Mail, The Conversation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and numerous other print and broadcast outlets. Research from her 2020 paper on dog empathy, “A shoulder to cry on: Heart rate variability and empathetic behavioral responses to crying and laughing in dogs,” was recently cited in an article published Oct. 1 on nationalgeographic.com.
Meyers-Manor received her bachelor's in psychology from Macalester College and her doctorate in cognitive and biological psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2009. After working as the dog training school director at the Animal Humane Society in the Twin Cities, she worked at Macalester College as a visiting assistant professor. As an assistant professor of psychology at Ripon College, Meyers-Manor is researching emotional regulation aggression and self-control in both rats and dogs.
Town Square is an award-winning community center located in the historic county courthouse buildings in the heart of downtown Green Lake.
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For more information, visit Town Square Community Center or call 920-807-0008.