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The Social Neuroscience of Human-Animal Interaction

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The Social Neuroscience of Human-Animal Interaction

Lisa S. Freund

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Our relationships with animals, as anyone with a beloved dog or cat knows, can be among the most significant in our lives. But why are we so attached to our pets? What kind of health, developmental, and psychological impacts do animals have on us? And what practical benefits – for animals and humans alike – can be gained from a deeper understanding of human-animal interactions?

In this volume, a cross-disciplinary group of authors that includes behavioral psychologists, neuroscientists, geneticists, ethicists and veterinarians seek to understand human-animal interactions by applying research in the neurobiology and genetics that underlie human social functioning.

Chapters describe the concepts and methodologies that social neuroscientists use to understand human social relationships, functioning, and the social bases of cognition, and apply these to understanding the role of animals in our lives. Authors present evolutionary and developmental perspectives, and weigh the implications of human-animal interactions research for animal welfare. Clinical applications include animal-assisted therapies for people with disabilities, acute or chronic health conditions, and social or emotional difficulties.

Clear and accessible, this book is intended for a broad readership that includes clinicians, teachers, and anyone interested in how and why animals affect us the way they do.

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