banner
You are not using a standards compliant browser. Because of this you may notice minor glitches in the rendering of this page. Please upgrade to a compliant browser for optimal viewing:
Firefox
Internet Explorer 7
Safari (Mac and PC)
Post Archive
2018 (0)2013 (2)2012 (29)
December (1)November (2)

Give thanks this Thursday—and always
Monday, November 19, 2012

"neuroBLOGical" turns 1!
Sunday, November 4, 2012
October (4)September (1)

Sight without seeing: Balint's syndrome
Sunday, September 16, 2012
August (2)

Catnip fever: why your cat acts high
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paralyze your face, fight depression
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
July (2)June (4)May (3)April (2)March (3)February (2)

Seeing into the future? The neuroscience of déjà vu
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Your love is my drug
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
January (3)
2011 (7)
Rate This Post
Total votes: 2
Blogger Profile

Jordan Gaines
Neuroscience
Pennsylvania State University USA

A blog on biology, psychology, cognition, learning, memory, aging, and everything in between. Explaining recent discoveries in neuroscience, translated to language we can all understand!

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

Blog RSS Feed
RSS Add to My Yahoo Add to Google
Recent Comments

Your blog is perhaps one of the best pieces of science writings I have recently come across! Brilliant work ! I have been meaning to start something similar..now am inspired :) By the way- . . .Read More
May 08, 2013, 2:08pm

When you get to smell, I have some burning questions.   What's the scoop on that new car smell, and why does it make you want to buy?  :)   . . .Read More
Jan 28, 2013, 7:14pm

Coolest series ever!  I can't wait for the next one. . . .Read More
Dec 10, 2012, 9:46am
Comment by Brian Krueger, PhD in "neuroBLOGical" turns 1!

I'm starting as the Associate Director of the Genomic Analysis Facility at Duke University in two weeks!  Hopefully once things settle down I'll actually be able to write again and start recruitin. . .Read More
Nov 06, 2012, 7:20am
Comment by Jordan Gaines in "neuroBLOGical" turns 1!

Excellent! What's the new job? . . .Read More
Nov 05, 2012, 5:37pm
Blogroll
Feb 01, 2011, 10:42am
Jan 07, 2011, 2:16pm
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Apologies for the cheesy blog title. My brain for the past two weeks has been a whirlwind of—well, brains. I'm in a fairly intense five-week neuroanatomy class and my neurons have been abuzz with images of brain slice after brain slice—so much that transverse sections of the brainstem were beginning to resemble a pug's face. The wrinkly cerebellum was the forehead, and the pons stained darkly resembled the snout. But I digress.

Hallucinating said "pug," combined with me missing my 11-year old greyhound and best friend Patrick (above) back home and my upcoming orientation at the Harrisburg Humane Society (so excited!) prompted me to find out: what is it about pets that, simply put, makes us feel good?

Correlational studies of the past decade have demonstrated a clear link between pet ownership and better health: lower blood pressure, more physical fitness, less loneliness, and higher self-esteem, to name a few benefits. In a study published last month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychologyresearchers Allen McConnell and colleagues examined whether pets had the ability to eliminate the negativity felt by pet owners when faced with social rejection.

Pet owners (97 of them!—what a crazy room) were brought into the laboratory. Some were induced to feel socially rejected by writing about a time in their past when they felt socially isolated or excluded. The other half of participants did not undergo this exercise.

The pet owners were then instructed to do one of three tasks: 1. write about their pet, 2. write about their best friend, or 3. draw a map of the area (control).

As expected, those subjected to "social rejection" who drew the map felt subjectively worse than the beginning of the experiment. Those "rejected," however, who wrote about either their pet or their best friend experienced positive feelings, even after the feelings of rejection were induced. In other words, thinking about one's pet could stave off feelings of rejection not unlike thinking about your best bud.

Also interesting was the fact that positivity scores were not dependent on whether the person owned a cat or dog, or even horse, goat, or snake.

I would have liked to know how many of those pet owners actually equate or consider their pets their best friends. Personally, I know Patrick is my best friend. The fact that he has a human name makes me a little more willing to declare my undying love for him in the company of others.

Photo courtesy Mrs. Bruner's Superhero Blog.

McConnell AR, Brown CM, Shoda TM, Stayton LE, & Martin CE (2011). Friends with benefits: on the positive consequences of pet ownership. Journal of personality and social psychology, 101 (6), 1239-52 PMID: 21728449

This post has been viewed: 1425 time(s)

Tags:           

Blog Comments
No comments recorded.
Add Comment?
Comments are closed 2 weeks after initial post.
Friends