Kathryn Lord, PhD

Barking and Conflict

Dogs seemingly bark in any situation, initially leading scientists to suggest barking had no function. However, dogs also vary the sound of their barks in different situations, so a bark at a stranger does not sound the same as a bark during a game of fetch. This variation has led to the hypothesis that barking is a form of communication with humans selected to benefit us. However, dogs are not the only animals to bark. This vocalization appears in numerous mammals and birds. In this talk I will discuss how investigation into other animals and the acoustics of the bark itself suggest that the bark is associated with a conflicted motivational state. I will also present new research testing these two hypotheses against each other.

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