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A scientist examines the origins and evolutionary significance of play in humans and animals.
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.
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.
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.
Evolution and the Emergent Self is an eloquent and evocative new synthesis that explores how the human species emerged from the cosmic dust. Lucidly presenting ideas about the rise of complexity in our genetic, neuronal, ecological, and ultimately cosmological settings, the author takes readers on a provocative tour of modern science's quest to understand our place in nature and in our universe. Readers fascinated with "Big History" and drawn to examine big ideas will be challenged and enthralled by Raymond L. Neubauer's ambitious narrative. How did humans emerge from the cosmos and the pre-biotic Earth, and what mechanisms of biological, chemical, and physical sciences drove this increasingly complex process? Neubauer presents a view of nature that describes the rising complexity of life in terms of increasing information content, first in genes and then in brains. The evolution of the nervous system expanded the capacity of organisms to store information, making learning possible. In key chapters, the author portrays four species with high brain:body ratios—chimpanzees, elephants, ravens, and dolphins—showing how each species shares with humans the capacity for complex communication, elaborate social relationships, flexible behavior, tool use, and powers of abstraction. A large brain can have a hierarchical arrangement of circuits that facilitates higher levels of abstraction. Neubauer describes this constellation of qualities as an emergent self, arguing that self-awareness is nascent in several species besides humans and that potential human characteristics are embedded in the evolutionary process and have emerged repeatedly in a variety of lineages on our planet. He ultimately demonstrates that human culture is not a unique offshoot of a language-specialized primate, but an analogue of fundamental mechanisms that organisms have used since the beginning of life on Earth to gather and process information in order to buffer themselves from fluctuations in the environment. Neubauer also views these developments in a cosmic setting, detailing open thermodynamic systems that grow more complex as the energy flowing through them increases. Similar processes of increasing complexity can be found in the "self-organizing" structures of both living and nonliving forms. Recent evidence from astronomy indicates that planet formation may be nearly as frequent as star formation. Since life makes use of the elements commonly seeded into space by burning and expiring stars, it is reasonable to speculate that the evolution of life and intelligence that happened on our planet may be found across the universe.
An interdisciplinary anthology of essays on animal cognition.
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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