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A scientist examines the origins and evolutionary significance of play in humans and animals.
Mastering Fear analyzes horror as play and examines what functions horror has and why it is adaptive and beneficial for audiences. It takes a biocultural approach, and focusing on emotions, gender, and play, it argues we play with fiction horror. In horror we engage not only with the negative emotions of fear and disgust, but with a wide range of emotions, both positive and negative. The book lays out a new theory of horror and analyzes female protagonists in contemporary horror from child to teen, adult, middle age, and old age. Since the turn of the millennium, we have seen a new generation of female protagonists in horror. There are feisty teens in The Vampire Diaries (2009–2017), troubled mothers in The Babadook (2014), and struggling women in the New French extremity with Martyrs (2008) and Inside (2007). At the fuzzy edges of the genre are dramas like Pan's Labyrinth (2006) and Black Swan (2010), and middle-age women are now protagonists with Carol in The Walking Dead (2010–) and Jessica Lange's characters in American Horror Story (2011–). Horror is not just for men, but also for women, and not just for the young, but for audiences of all ages.
Is it possible that what looks like play is something else entirely? German author Mechtild Käufer presents findings from scores of researchers worldwide who study why dogs play, the benefits they get from play and how to recognize the “rules” of play that dogs follow to keep their play behaviors fun and safe. There are dozens of color photographs included to help illustrate the actions of dogs at play.
An interdisciplinary anthology of essays on animal cognition.
Once one of the least studied of the great apes, this new text covers the latest research into these fascinating creatures. Split into two parts, it covers scientific research, which has attempted to answer why bonobos have some unique characteristics such as high social status of females and flexible social relationships. Then, it moves on to conservation. Both the local and global aspects of the factors threatening the wild bonobo population are reviewed.
Raymond L. Neubauer presents a view of nature that describes rising complexity in life in terms of increasing information content, first in genes and then in brains. The evolution of the nervous system expanded the capacity to store information with relatively open-ended programs, making learning possible. Portraying four species with high brain-to-body ratios&mdashchimpanzees, elephants, ravens, and dolphins&mdashNeubauer shows how each shares with humans the capability for complex communication, social relationships, flexible behavior, tool use, and powers of abstraction. He describes this constellation of qualities as an emergent self, arguing that humanity is not the only self-aware species and that human characteristics are embedded in the evolutionary process and are emerging in a variety of lineages on our planet. Neubauer ultimately shows that human culture is not a unique offshoot of a language-specialized primate, but an extension of a fundamental strategy that organisms have used since the beginning of life on earth to gather information and buffer themselves from environmental fluctuations. Neubauer also views these processes in a cosmic setting, detailing open thermodynamic systems that become more complex as the energy flowing through them increases. Similar processes of increasing complexity can be found in "self-organizing" structures in both living and non-living forms. Recent evidence from astronomy indicates that planet formation may be nearly as frequent as star formation. In February 2011, NASA announced that the Kepler space telescope had located fifty-four planets in the habitable zones around their stars. Life makes use of the elements most commonly seeded into space by burning and exploding stars, and the evolution of life and intelligence that occurred on our planet may be common across the universe.
This is the first book to collate and synthesize the recent burgeoning primary research literature on dog behaviour, evolution, and cognition. The author presents a new ecological approach to the understanding of dog behaviour, demonstrating how dogs can be the subject of rigorous and productive scientific study without the need to confine them to a laboratory environment. This second, fully updated edition of Dog Behaviour, Evolution and Cognition starts with an overview of the conceptual and methodological issues associated with the study of the dog, followed by a brief description of their role in human society. An evolutionary perspective is then introduced with a summary of current research into the process of domestication. The central part of the book is devoted to issues relating to the cognitive aspects of behaviour which have received particular attention in recent years from both psychologists and ethologists. The book's final chapters introduce the reader to many novel approaches to dog behaviour, set in the context of behavioural development and genetics. This second edition recognises and discusses the fact that dogs are increasingly being used as model organisms for studying aspects of human biology, such as genetic diseases and ageing. Specific attention is also given in this edition to attachment behaviour which emerges between humans and dogs, the importance of inter-specific communication in the success of dogs in human communities and the broad aspects of social cognition and how this may contribute to human-dog cooperation Directions for future research are highlighted throughout the text which also incorporates links to human and primate research by drawing on homologies and analogies in both evolution and behaviour. The book will therefore be of relevance and use to anyone with an interest in behavioural ecology including graduate students of animal behaviour and cognition, as well as a more general audience of dog enthusiasts, biologists, psychologists, veterinarians, and sociologists.

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