On the Uniqueness of Dogs

Thursday, Jan 18, 2018 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

The Jacob Marschack Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Mathematics in the Behavioral Sciences at UCLA

Scientists have long been fascinated by the success of dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) in the human-dominated environment. In recent decades several claims have been made that dogs are possessed of unique cognitive adaptations to the human niche.

In this talk, Clive Wynne will critically examine these proposals and conclude that they do not capture dogs' behavioral eccentricities. In place of an account of cognitive adaptations, Wynne will explore the possibility, first mentioned by Ivan Pavlov, that dogs are exceptional in their sociability (what Pavlov termed the "social reflex"). He will outline simple tests of sociability and show results from comparisons of dogs and their wild relatives, wolves (C l lupus), on these tests. Wynne will also present findings indicating that the exceptional sociability of dogs may be due to genes implicated in a rare human development disorder, Williams-Beuren Syndrome, characterized by extreme gregariousness.

Clive Wynne is a professor of psychology at Arizona State University. Born in England, Wynne received his B.Sc with Honors from University College London and his Ph.D from University of Edinburgh. Wynne's broad interest is in comparative psychology, including the evolution, development and progress of the behavior of individuals and groups of nonhuman animals, ranging from simple conditioning to complex cognitions.

RSVP is requested.

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Light refreshments will be served.

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