One academic conference is enough to exhaust your brain. Two might fry it. I'm currently at the Animal Behavior Society Meeting in Princeton, NJ (more on that later). Last week I was at the International Society for Behavioral Ecology meeting in NYC.
For your reading pleasure, I have storified my tweets from the presentations that I attended - Now you can see what kind of cool, amazing science got reported there!
I also spent a few lovely days in Brooklyn, where I got to hang out with DogSpies. I also checked out the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Brooklyn museum, ate some serious pizza, met with a fellow cat behavior consultant and hung with some friends. I have to love a place that has THIS mural!!
I love the idea of public contributions to scientific data collection! Recent publications that utilized citizen science include observations of gulls, foxes, geese, lady beetles and beach garbage. Read more about it here!
Anthropomorphism impedes our understanding of animal behavior
This fascinating study had 4 and 5 year old children read one of two versions of a story about animals - one with anthropomorphism, and one that used factual language. Results suggested that children who read the story where animals were depicted with human-like traits were more likely to assign human psychological, but not physical, traits to animals later. The Thoughtful Animal at Scientific American tells us more about it here.
If Karma Chameleon is stuck in your head, you're not alone
I've suffered from "earworms" for as long as I can remember. I ALWAYS have a song stuck in my head (it's not always an annoying one, but there are many popular ones, such as "Mountain Song" by Jane's Addiction, Bill Withers' "Lovely Day" and Peter Gabriel's "Big Time"), so I'm very excited to see that scientists are taking on this interesting problem as a focus for research in a new study published at PlosONE.