Wednesday, December 12, 3:30 – 4:30 P.M., Arizona Senior Academy Great Room
For a long time, dogs have been written off as a highly artificial species with little left to contribute to the scientific study of behavior, cognition, or evolution. However, across the last two decades there has been a resurgence of scientific interest in dogs, in fields ranging from cognitive science to genetics and gerontology.
Our speaker for Dec. 12, Evan MacLean, Ph.D., will present recent advances in the study of dog cognition and behavior, emphasizing how studies of dog domestication and diversity can yield powerful insights into the questions about cognitive and behavioral evolution. In addition, he will provide an overview of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center, a newly established laboratory at the University of Arizona, which enlists local dog owners to participate in research in these topics.
Dr. MacLean is an Assistant Professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, and Director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center. He received his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Anthropology from Duke University in 2012, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. His research integrates methods from evolutionary biology and comparative psychology to address questions about the cognitive mechanisms through which animals solve complex problems, the processes through which cognition evolves, and how studies of dog behavior and cognition can improve the methods through which dogs are selected, bred, and trained for roles in society.
In addition to his work on animal behavior and cognition, Dr. MacLean studies the biological mechanisms involved in human-animal-interaction. In the last 5 years Dr. MacLean has led diverse projects focusing on dog behavior, cognition, and neuroendocrinology. In 2015 he was awarded a Next Generation Canine Research Fellowship from the Stanton Foundation, and his work has been highlighted in media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio, the BBC, and National Geographic.