256 pages, illustrations
Our relationships with animals, as anyone with a beloved dog or cat knows, can be among the most significant in our lives. But why are we so attached to our pets? What kind of health, developmental, and psychological impacts do animals have on us? And what practical benefits – for animals and humans alike – can be gained from a deeper understanding of human-animal interactions? In The Social Neuroscience of Human-Animal Interaction, a cross-disciplinary group of authors that includes behavioral psychologists, neuroscientists, geneticists, ethicists and veterinarians seek to understand human-animal interactions by applying research in the neurobiology and genetics that underlie human social functioning. Chapters describe the concepts and methodologies that social neuroscientists use to understand human social relationships, functioning, and the social bases of cognition, and apply these to understanding the role of animals in our lives. Authors present evolutionary and developmental perspectives, and weigh the implications of human-animal interactions research for animal welfare. Clinical applications include animal-assisted therapies for people with disabilities, acute or chronic health conditions, and social or emotional difficulties. Clear and accessible, The Social Neuroscience of Human-Animal Interaction is intended for a broad readership that includes clinicians, teachers, and anyone interested in how and why animals affect us the way they do.
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Lisa S. Freund, PhD, is the chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), U.S. National Institutes of Health. She is a developmental neuropsychologist who is known for her neuroimaging studies with children from different clinical populations and was an NICHD-supported scientist for several years.
Sandra McCune, PhD, is scientific leader for HAI at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition (part of Mars, Inc.) in the United Kingdom. Her background is in ethology, and she has studied a range of topics in cat and dog behavior and welfare for many years, including aspects of temperament, social behavior, feeding behavior, cognition, and age-related changes in behavior. Her doctoral study focused on the assessment of individual variation in the temperament of cats and its impact on their welfare when confined. She has extensive experience studying HAI from both animal and human perspectives in a variety of contexts.
Layla Esposito, PhD, is a program official within the Child Development and Behavior Branch, NICHD, and oversees the portfolio of research on social and emotional development in children, child and family processes, and human-animal interaction. She is a child psychologist by training and has been involved in a wide variety of research projects related to child and adolescent development.
Nancy R. Gee, PhD, is research manager for the WALTHAM HAI research program. Based at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition (part of Mars, Inc.) in the United Kingdom, she manages a global portfolio of external university collaborations. This role involves participation in the Mars-NICHD public-private partnership, development of other partnerships, and shepherding a new focus of research and practice for HAI at WALTHAM. She also holds the rank of professor of psychology at the State University of New York, Fredonia, USA, where she has conducted research and published in the areas of cognition and HAI. A recipient of multiple grants and awards, she is a member of the editorial advisory boards for two journals, has served extensively as a reviewer of HAI research grant proposals, and has contributed chapters to this and other HAI volumes.
Peggy McCardle, PhD, MPH, is an affiliated research scientist at the Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, and an independent consultant. She is involved in editing volumes related to literacy and learning, mentoring young scholars and researchers, and consulting and writing in a variety of areas including child language development and learning, bilingualism, education, and learning disabilities. As former chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch, she was closely involved with the establishment of the Mars-NICHD public-private partnership on child development and HAI, the workshops held under that partnership, and the editing of the two previous volumes, How Animals Affect Us and Animals in Our Lives.