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The effects of the presence of a dog in the classroom

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Abstract

This study examined the effects of the presence of a dog in the classroom on field independence, social competence, empathy with animals and social-emotional atmosphere. The participants were 46 first-graders (43 of them immigrants) of two school classes (control and experimental). In the experimental group, a dog was present in the classroom for three months. Multivariate analyses revealed significant enhancement of field independence and empathy with animals in the experimental group in comparison to the control group (no dog). Thus, the presence of the dog fostered the development of autonomous functioning and a better segregation of self/non-self, which is the foundation of sensitivity towards the needs and moods of other people. Moreover, according to the views of the teachers, the children in the experimental group exhibited higher social integration, and there were fewer aggressive children, compared with the children in the control group. In sum, the results indicate that a dog can be an important factor in the social and cognitive development of children.

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... Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) have shown beneficial effects on children's socio-emotional and cognitive functioning, memory and behavior. Studies have found beneficial effects of AAI in schools, for example, students paid more attention to the teacher when a dog was present [63,64], and they showed better adherence to instructions and fewer irrelevant choices and errors [65][66][67], see also recent overviews [18,28]). The term animal-assisted intervention (AAI) is used here as overarching term to include interventions in general. ...
... The ability of AAIs to enhance concentration, attention and motivation and reduce stress levels may be conducive to effective learning and performance with the animal's presence creating a positive social atmosphere [26,44,63,64], and for reduction in stress levels in University students [33]. An integrative approach combining biophilia, neurobiological processes, attachment and caregiving to pets seems most useful to explain the resulting human-animal relationships, their development and physiological and endocrine basis [26,72]. ...
... Such reduction of stress levels after dog interventions may also be due to the dog creating a positive social atmosphere [e.g. 26,34,63,64,72,73] and an integrative model like thebiopsychosocial model [77][78][79] seems best-suited to explain the findings within one holistic model allowing for complex and dynamic mechanisms and interactions between biological, psychological and social factors. ...
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Prolonged or excessive stress negatively affects learning, behavior and health across the lifespan. To alleviate adverse effects of stress in school children, stressors should be reduced, and support and effective interventions provided. Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) have shown beneficial effects on health and wellbeing, however, robust knowledge on stress mediation in children is lacking. Despite this, AAIs are increasingly employed in settings world-wide, including schools, to reduce stress and support learning and wellbeing. This study is the first randomized controlled trial to investigate dog-assisted interventions as a mediator of stress in school children with and without special educational needs (SEN) over the school term. Interventions were carried out individually and in small groups twice a week for 20 minutes over the course of 4 weeks. We compared physiological changes in salivary cortisol in a dog intervention group with a relaxation intervention group and a no treatment control group. We compared cortisol level means before and after the 4 weeks of interventions in all children as well as acute cortisol in mainstream school children. Dog interventions lead to significantly lower stress in children with and without special educational needs compared to their peers in relaxation or no treatment control groups. In neurotypical children, those in the dog interventions showed no baseline stress level increases over the school term. In addition, acute cortisol levels evidenced significant stress reduction following the interventions. In contrast, the no treatment control group showed significant rises in baseline cortisol levels from beginning to end of school term. Increases also occurred in the relaxation intervention group. Children with SEN showed significantly decreased cortisol levels after dog group interventions. No changes occurred in the relaxation or no treatment control groups. These findings provide crucial evidence that dog interventions can successfully attenuate stress levels in school children with important implications for AAI implementation, learning and wellbeing.
... In contrast, the children in groups with "social training without dogs" and "dog attendance without social training" did not maintain the increase in empathy (Tissen et al., 2007). Similarly , Hergovich, Monshi, Semmler, and Zieglmayer (2002) examined the effects of the presence of a dog on dominantly immigrant children in Vienna, Austria. Although throughout the three months no specific instructions were given to the first graders, they were shown how to pat a dog, feed it, and give it a toy. ...
... In addition, the studies reviewed here were conducted in various countries. The insights into these international endeavors should be highly appreciated yet the findings must be handled with consideration of the specific characteristics of the population, e.g., living in rural Mexican towns or living in big cities like Vienna (Hergovich et al., 2002), especially in view of the relatively small sample size in each study. Overall, there is a need for research that evaluates programs reaching out to young children with different social, economic, and experiential backgrounds in order to guide the development of culturally appropriate humane education programs . ...
... The importance of this argument is validated by the increasing research in humane education worldwide. The ultimate purpose of this research paradigm is to explore evidence for best practices in educating children who think critically and act responsibly about their environment Hergovich et al., 2002). Since we live on the same planet, the task of nurturing the future generation to grow adults who will find the viable solutions for environmental issues across the globe must be completed with international collaboration. ...
Chapter
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The value of humane educational programs in the relationship with animals, humans, and violence, in general, has been demonstrated. However, a nationwide program has not been established, and most of the interventions around the world are based in programs developed by humane associations, whose success evaluations in general lack of a rigorous methodology. However, few studies with robust methodology support some of these programs. Among these papers, authors concluded that (1) effective short-term courses can vary in length from 30 min to 40 h distributed during one semester; (2) children exposed to these programs generalize animal empathy with human-directed empathy; (3) children between 6 and 13 years of age are able to learn about humane behavior toward animals and humans through role-play, printed materials, and lectures, which have a synergistic effect; (4) short-term humane education programs can be effective and sustainable over the long term; and (5) children’s stage of development affects humane learning. This chapter is a review of some of the successful, short-term interventions published in the scientific literature.
... Three papers within the review investigated the presence of an animal on classroom behaviour in general and with typically developing children. Two of the papers investigated the effect of the presence of a dog in the classroom [49,52], whilst the third involved a rabbit in the classroom environment [54]. The research by Kotrschal and Ortbauer [52] and Hergovich et al. [49] both included children in classes with a multi-ethnic background aged 6-7 years. ...
... Two of the papers investigated the effect of the presence of a dog in the classroom [49,52], whilst the third involved a rabbit in the classroom environment [54]. The research by Kotrschal and Ortbauer [52] and Hergovich et al. [49] both included children in classes with a multi-ethnic background aged 6-7 years. Kotrschal and Ortbauer [52] familiarised the children with three dogs, two of which were certified therapy dogs. ...
... Hergovich et al. [49] also tested a class of children with a dog present after prior familiarisation and used a parallel class of children without a dog present as their control group. Assignment of classrooms to each condition was not random as the dog belonged to the class teacher (p. ...
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The inclusion of animals in educational practice is becoming increasingly popular, but it is unclear how solid the evidence for this type of intervention is. The aim of this systematic review is to scrutinise the empirical research literature relating to animal-assisted interventions conducted in educational settings. The review included 25 papers; 21 from peer-reviewed journals and 4 obtained using grey literature databases. Most studies reported significant benefits of animal-assisted interventions in the school setting. Despite this, studies vary greatly in methods and design, in intervention types, measures, and sample sizes, and in the length of time exposed to an animal. Furthermore, a worrying lack of reference to risk assessment and animal welfare must be highlighted. Taken together, the results of this review show promising findings and emerging evidence suggestive of potential benefits related to animals in school settings. The review also indicates the need for a larger and more robust evidence base driven by thorough and strict protocols. The review further emphasises the need for safeguarding for all involved—welfare and safety are paramount.
... There were no significant differences between the perceptions of students in either condition, in terms of depressive symptomology, emotions, attitudes, acceptance, effort, integration, school climate, self-concept, adaptivity and emotional regulation strategies. Independent and repeated measures were also used by Hergovich et al. (2002) in an examination of the effects of the presence of a dog in the classroom on the field independence, social competence, empathy towards animals and socio-emotional atmosphere in a sample of 46 children (aged sixseven). Children were in a classroom with no dog present (control condition) or a dog present (experimental condition) during lessons. ...
... It was frequently reported in primary and special educational studies that students/teachers perceived that interactions with therapy dogs improved students' mood and positive emotionality (Anderson & Olson, 2016;Beetz, 2013;Fujisawa et al., 2016;Geist, 2013;Rosenburg, 2016;Sorin et al., 2015), attitudes or motivation for learning (Anderson & Olson, 2006;Beetz, 2013;Kirnan et al., 2020;Rosenburg, 2016;Sorin et al., 2015;Stevenson et al., 2015), and their communication and language skills (Becker et al., 2017;Esteves & Stokes, 2008;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003;Lieber, 2002;Mitchell, 2019;Stevenson et al., 2015). Studies conducted with primary education populations also reported that students/teachers perceived that therapy dogs improved students' relationships with peers (Belt, 2020;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003;Lieber, 2002;Sorin et al., 2015) and teachers (Belt, 2020;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003;Sorin et al., 2015), positive behaviours (Belt, 2020;Lieber, 2002;Tissen et al., 2007), empathy (Hergovich et al., 2002;Tissen et al., 2007) and aggression (Hergovich et al., 2002;Tissen et al., 2007). In studies with special education populations, students/teachers more frequently perceived that therapy dog improve students' calmness (Kirnan et al., 2020;Rosenburg, 2016). ...
... It was frequently reported in primary and special educational studies that students/teachers perceived that interactions with therapy dogs improved students' mood and positive emotionality (Anderson & Olson, 2016;Beetz, 2013;Fujisawa et al., 2016;Geist, 2013;Rosenburg, 2016;Sorin et al., 2015), attitudes or motivation for learning (Anderson & Olson, 2006;Beetz, 2013;Kirnan et al., 2020;Rosenburg, 2016;Sorin et al., 2015;Stevenson et al., 2015), and their communication and language skills (Becker et al., 2017;Esteves & Stokes, 2008;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003;Lieber, 2002;Mitchell, 2019;Stevenson et al., 2015). Studies conducted with primary education populations also reported that students/teachers perceived that therapy dogs improved students' relationships with peers (Belt, 2020;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003;Lieber, 2002;Sorin et al., 2015) and teachers (Belt, 2020;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003;Sorin et al., 2015), positive behaviours (Belt, 2020;Lieber, 2002;Tissen et al., 2007), empathy (Hergovich et al., 2002;Tissen et al., 2007) and aggression (Hergovich et al., 2002;Tissen et al., 2007). In studies with special education populations, students/teachers more frequently perceived that therapy dog improve students' calmness (Kirnan et al., 2020;Rosenburg, 2016). ...
... They are teachers' or handlers' pets and visit school. In order to take enough rest, most dogs do not go to school every day or multiple dogs go to school by turn (9,47). Also, in most cases, teachers take care of the dogs. ...
... Despite such environmental differences, animals in both educational systems commonly have the effect to help children adapt to school including school adaptation (53), enhancing positive attitude toward school and learning (9), social integration (11,47), and a reduction in the stress response (42). The result of Nakajima et al. (53) suggests the presence of animals in the "here and now" is crucial. ...
... The first is enhancement of cognitive and athletic ability. This includes enhancement of field independence (47), fewer irrelevant choices in cognitive tasks (46), enhancement of attention (44,45), and faster and more accurate completion of the athletic task (43). The second is an enhancement in the social skill to get along with others at school, which includes less aggression and hyperactivity (11), more attention toward teacher (11), reduced victims of open as well as relational aggression (12). ...
Article
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An increasing number of teachers are introducing animals into their class so that pupils foster cognitive, physiological, and social skills through their interaction with animals. Along with such an educational style termed animal-assisted education (AAE), Japanese formal education has also utilized animals for education. Japanese animal-rearing education is unique regarding the following two points: (1) it takes the form of “education through assisting animals” rather than “animals assisting education” and (2) animal rearing is embedded in formal education. While conventional AAE expects the benefit from the social support of animals, Japanese animal-rearing education expects benefit from nurturing and caring for animals. The present study aims to identify effective methods for using animals for education by highlighting the benefits of Japanese animal-rearing education. An overview of Japanese animal-rearing education is followed by a critical review of empirical studies of conventional AAE and Japanese animal-rearing education. Despite the differences in the educational styles, it was found that both systems commonly help children adapt to school. Additionally, conventional AAE were effective in enhancing cognitive and athletic ability of students and foster social skills, while Japanese animal-rearing education enhanced academic knowledge and skills and cultivated sympathy for animals and other people. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the experience of raising animals affects children’s development for a long time even after children stop raising animals. In order to determine the effect of animal presence at school, however, more empirical studies with various viewpoints are necessary for both styles of education. Concerning Japanese animal-rearing education, the effects of the differences such as the amount of exposure to animals, developmental stage or character of individual children, the types of animals need to be controlled for a more sophisticated examination. Empirical studies show that preadolescence is one of the periods in which animal rearing has the greatest impact on children’s development. It is suggested that through the program of raising school animals, conventional AAE obtains more a variety of effects in their interaction with animals.
... Classroom animals can stimulate the development of social competence. For example, research indicate that the presence of a dog in the classroom may contribute to the development of higher social integration in the classroom and promote sensitivity towards needs and moods of other people among children [36]. Positive effects on behavioral problems, such as aggressiveness [36,37] and hyperactivity [37], have been verified as a result of having a classroom animal. ...
... For example, research indicate that the presence of a dog in the classroom may contribute to the development of higher social integration in the classroom and promote sensitivity towards needs and moods of other people among children [36]. Positive effects on behavioral problems, such as aggressiveness [36,37] and hyperactivity [37], have been verified as a result of having a classroom animal. Likewise, there was also a positive effect on attention [37]. ...
... This is expressed even more clearly in the key content areas related to the objectives of environmental studies, an integrated subject area in primary education, comprising biology, geography, physics, chemistry, and health education. 'Building a sustainable future' is one of the key content areas, and here it is emphasized that students should reflect on the impacts of their actions on themselves, other people, animal welfare, nature and society [36] (p. 260). ...
Article
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Social change requires new educational planning and sustainable teaching methods. Shaping an environment of care with animals as a part of the daily school life may produce such a change. In this article, we present a transdisciplinary study with the aim of exploring whether raising chickens in a classroom could promote learning, especially sustainability learning, and how. The study employs an ethnographic approach and we have analyzed the data according to interaction analysis. We collected the data in a culturally-diverse Finnish primary school class during May 2018. The data comprise field notes, videos and photographs from indoor and outdoor school activities; interviews and discussions with teachers and students; and, texts and artifacts that were made by students. The results show that having chickens in the classroom not only improved the students’ learning of biology, but also enhanced many other activities. The chicken project became part of a complex learning culture that met several of the aims of the curriculum and in many ways reached beyond the aim of merely learning science. The project became a natural part of sustainability education and promoted the acquisition of knowledge and skills in relation to the ecological and social dimensions of sustainability.
... Previous studies have similarly demonstrated that involving pets in classrooms can enhance children's social interactions [55,56]. However, most studies have been focused on AAE in special education classrooms (i.e., with children with autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or emotional and behavioral disorders) [56][57][58], while few have addressed general education classrooms [56,[59][60][61][62]. To this end, previous studies examined the impact of dogs on the classroom's dynamics, showing that the presence of an animal was directly related to increased social cohesion and decreased aggression among children aged 6-10-years [60,61], as well as increased cognitive task performance among children aged 3-5-years [63,64]. ...
... However, most studies have been focused on AAE in special education classrooms (i.e., with children with autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or emotional and behavioral disorders) [56][57][58], while few have addressed general education classrooms [56,[59][60][61][62]. To this end, previous studies examined the impact of dogs on the classroom's dynamics, showing that the presence of an animal was directly related to increased social cohesion and decreased aggression among children aged 6-10-years [60,61], as well as increased cognitive task performance among children aged 3-5-years [63,64]. ...
Article
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Emotion comprehension (EC) is a crucial competence for children, as it determines the quality of peer interactions. This study assessed the efficacy of an animal-assisted education (AAE) intervention with dogs based on the Federico II Model of Healthcare Zooanthropology (FMHZ) to promote EC in a group of primary school children. One hundred and four children (48 females) aged 6–7 years took part in the study, of whom 63 participated in the AAE intervention (i.e., experimental group) and 41 did not (i.e., control group). The intervention was deployed in a school setting through a group format and consisted of five bimonthly sessions. EC was assessed pre- and post-intervention, and at a 3-month follow-up. Student’s t-test and mixed-model ANOVA were performed to analyze the effect of the intervention on EC. EC significantly improved in children of the experimental group compared to the control group. Significant time effects from pre- to post-intervention, post-intervention to follow-up, and pre-intervention to follow-up assessment were found in the experimental group only. AAE based on FMHZ was effective in improving EC in children.
... In a study by Kotrschal and Ortbauer [9], students paid more attention to their teachers and showed less aggressive and hyperactive behaviors when a dog was present in the classroom. In the same vein, Hergovich et al. [10] found that students, in addition to being less aggressive, had more empathy when a dog was present. And Gee, Harris and Johnson [8] conducted their study with a group of 14 children with language problems completing tasks more quickly without compromising accuracy, with the dog acting as a motivating element for the child. ...
... The ability to focus and maintain attention is critical to learning; dogs constitute a center of attention and the therapist can approach the child through the animal [19]. Therapy dogs promote the autonomy of schoolchildren; children learned to pay attention to the needs of others and take responsibility for their welfare [10]; and as we have found in our study, to respect the waiting times when it was necessary and to improve the work dynamic in the classroom. ...
... In this intervention, the researchers focused on the social and cognitive benefits that first graders, mainly immigrants in Austria, experienced as a result of the presence of dogs in the classroom. (Hergovich et al. 2002). ...
... Numerous studies showed the positive effect of child-dog interaction in diverse developmental areas, such as social-emotional development and personality development. For example, Hergovich et al. (2002) found that teachers reported a reduction in aggressive behaviors amongst their students in the control group with a dog when compared to the experimental group without a dog present after 3 months. Likewise, Esteves and Stokes (2006) observed a decrease in negative behavior and an increase in social responsiveness among children with disabilities as a result of the opportunities to be in the presence of an obedience-trained dog. ...
Chapter
This chapter reports on a multistep university course project on dogs and children, which ultimately led to a community outreach of young children reading to shelter dogs. First, we review the research and anecdotal accounts about the benefits of animal-assisted activities (AAA), in particular benefits that children gained from the interaction with dogs. Also we give an overview of the current status of the infusion of humane education in teacher education courses. Then, we describe a university course project which aimed to activate early childhood professionals’ awareness about the positive contributions of the child-dog interaction for child development, and about possible curricular integration. Furthermore, we describe an initiative called Reading Buddies, in which young children read to shelter dogs. This program was created as a consequent step of the university course project. The insights and voices of participants both in the course and the community outreach program are shared. The chapter concludes with recommendations for collaborative projects between university and animal welfare groups, such as Reading Buddies—a project in which children read aloud to shelter dogs.
... One of the only longitudinal studies of pet ownership found that levels of tearfulness in 8-to 12-year olds were decreased at 12 months following adoption of a pet dog, in comparison to non-dog owning children, although the sample size for this study was small (Paul and Serpell, 1996). There are virtually no published studies of pet ownership and child behavior problems, although there are multiple reports suggesting that child hyperactive, aggressive, and disruptive behaviors in school decrease after introduction of pets into classrooms (e.g., Hergovich et al., 2002;Kotrschal and Ortbauer, 2003;Tissen et al., 2007;O'Haire et al., 2013). In the longitudinal study, Paul and Serpell (1996) reported a decrease in "naughty" behavior among children at 1 month following the adoption of the family dog, but this effect did not persist at the 6-or 12-month assessments. ...
... Interestingly, we also found a relatively strong association between attitudes toward pets and youth delinquency. To our knowledge, this may be the first reported significant association between pet-related measures and adolescent externalizing behaviors in a non-clinical sample, although we note that studies examining the impact of introducing pets in classrooms have reported decreases in disruptive behaviors (e.g., Hergovich et al., 2002;Kotrschal and Ortbauer, 2003;Tissen et al., 2007;O'Haire et al., 2013). ...
Article
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Evidence regarding the effects of pet ownership and related variables on youth socioemotional development is mixed. Inconsistencies across studies may be due to a variety of factors, including the use of different outcomes measured across studies, small potential effect sizes, and use of selected samples. In addition, studies have not systematically controlled for demographic characteristics that may bias results, nor have studies systematically examined whether effects are consistent across different subgroups. The present study examined the impact of pet ownership and attitudes toward pets on four measures of youth socioemotional outcomes: delinquency, depressed mood, empathy, and prosocial behavior. Linear mixed-effect regression analyses were conducted on 342 youth (48.0% male) aged 9-19 (M = 14.05, SD = 1.77) from a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse sample. The majority (59.1%) of youth currently lived with a dog or cat and all participants completed the Pet Attitude Scale-Modified. Pet owners reported lower delinquency and higher empathy than non-owners; however, group differences became non-significant once demographic factors were controlled for. Attitudes toward pets was significantly associated with all four outcomes. More positive attitudes was modestly associated with lower delinquency (β = -0.22, p < 0.001) and higher empathy (β = 0.31, p < 0.001), with smaller effects for depressed mood (β = -0.12, p = 0.04) and prosocial behavior (β = 0.12, p = 0.02). For delinquency, empathy, and prosocial behavior, effects were only slightly attenuated and remained statistically significant after controlling for gender, age, race/ethnicity, family socioeconomic status, and pet ownership, although the effect for depressed mood became non-significant after inclusion of these demographic factors. While there was some variability in effect sizes across different subgroups, none of the interactions between attitudes toward pets and gender, race/ethnicity, age, family SES, or pet ownership was statistically significant, indicating that the effects may transcend individual differences in demographic characteristics. Overall, the study adds to a growing body of work supporting a positive relationship between emotional bonds with pets and youth socioemotional outcomes and offers potential explanations for inconsistencies across previous studies.
... This occurs because dogs encourage children to engage and not be socially withdrawn or isolated while in school (Pendry et al., 2017). Hergovich, Monshi, Semmler, and Zieglmayer (2002), Kotrschal and Ortbauer school setting over a long period of time. All three studies reported an increase in empathy, an increase in social integration, an increase in attention to task/teacher, and fewer behavioral outburst (Beetz, 2013;Hergovich, Monshi, Semmler, & Zieglmayer, 2002;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003). ...
... Hergovich, Monshi, Semmler, and Zieglmayer (2002), Kotrschal and Ortbauer school setting over a long period of time. All three studies reported an increase in empathy, an increase in social integration, an increase in attention to task/teacher, and fewer behavioral outburst (Beetz, 2013;Hergovich, Monshi, Semmler, & Zieglmayer, 2002;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003). Beetz (2013) also reported the students had an increase in positive attitudes towards school and learning. ...
Research
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Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulties with social communication. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore, describe, and improve the understanding of how elementary teachers use dog-based AAI programs in their classrooms to prompt social communication for students with ASD. More specifically, I aimed to gain a better understanding of how certified therapy dogs can affect social communication skills in children with ASD, and how the integration of a therapy dog AAI program can change the way in which children interact with their peers.
... Anderson (2003) also highlighted the predictive nature of pet attachment with regard to empathy development in late adolescence. Furthermore, stronger attachment may significantly predict empathy development in later life (Hergovich et al., 2002). ...
... However, it hasn't been studied with pet attachment. In the West, pet's role in empathy development has been shown to be positive (Hergovich et al., 2002). Although this notion has been supported for both children and adults, most of the work has been done with children. ...
Article
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Present research was intended to investigate the relationship between pet attachment and empathy among young adults. CENSHARE Pet Attachment Survey (Holcomb, Williams, & Richards, 1985) was used to measure pet attachment and Multi-Dimensional Scale of Emotional Empathy (Caruso & Mayer, 1998) was used to measure empathy. Sample which included young adults (N = 250) within the age range of 18 to 26 years (M = 21.16; SD = 2.10), was taken from both public and private universities. The results showed significant positive relationship between pet attachment and empathy. Further, the result showed women scoring higher on pet attachment and empathy as compared to men. Pet owners spending less time with their pets showed stronger pet attachment. Significant predicting role of pet attachment was shown for empathy, with highest variance shown with intimacy component of pet attachment for the empathy dimension of feeling for others, then responsive crying, empathy and emotional attention respectively. Lastly, significant moderating role of gender for the effect of pet attachment on empathy was shown, with women scoring higher than men on empathy with increasing pet attachment.
... As discussed above, the presence of dogs may enhance clinical and educational settings due to their capacity to improve one's perceptions of others and of the physical tone and space of an environment that may otherwise feel unsettling (i.e., a therapy office, a school classroom, a hospital). Research conducted in an elementary school in Vienna found that the presence of a "classroom dog" helped improve the atmosphere in the classroom environment by promoting social cohesion and integration, with fewer student aggressive behaviors noted by teachers in comparison to classrooms without a dog (Hergovich, Monshi, Semmler, & Zieglmayer, 2002). ...
... In this study, researchers videotaped class sessions during a one-month control period (no dog) and one-month intervention period (with a dog), and observed decreased aggressive and hyperactive behaviors among students when the dog was present (Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003). Of note, the dog's presence appeared to be especially beneficial for boys and for children prone to social withdrawal in terms of classroom integration (Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003 (Hergovich et al., 2002). ...
Article
This report was the initial phase of a joint research effort between Green Chimneys School and the Institute for Human-Animal Connection. This report extensively documents each of Green Chimneys School's animal and nature-based interventions. Future research will examine the impact of Green Chimneys’ unique programs on outcomes for the students who attend Green Chimneys School
... In a quasi-experimental field study, Hergovich et al. (2002) found that the presence of a dog generated positive social-emotional results for school children. Two 1st-grade classes were studied: a control class with no dog present (n = 22), and a treatment class with one of three dogs present every day (n = 24) for three months. ...
... The treatment group demonstrated significantly higher empathy and significantly greater field independence than the control group. Field independence (i.e., the extent to which an individual can differentiate oneself from others and surroundings) is associated with complex cognitive abilities, increased academic gains, and increased empathy (Hergovich et al., 2002). Hergovich et al. also found that children integrated more successfully into the classroom after the dog's presence and the teachers reported less aggressive behavior in students. ...
Article
This study explored children’s perceptions of a canine-assisted social-emotional learning program developed within the framework of a canine therapy program at a mid-sized Canadian university. Data collection made use of interviews, field notes, and observations. Children (N = 8, 5 – 11 years) from an after-school program participated in a six-week intervention after which participants were interviewed about their experiences in the program, their learning of social and emotional competencies, and the role of the therapy dogs in facilitating their socioemotional development. Using conventional content analysis, salient themes reflecting participants’ experiences were identified. A within-case analysis was conducted followed by a cross-case analysis to identify what participants collectively saw as important. Salient themes to emerge through cross-case analysis were: 1) the dogs were meaningful and essential to the program, 2) it was an enjoyable and positive experience, and 3) participants reported evidence of social-emotional learnings. Evidence from this study suggests that the therapy dogs might have provided behavioral and emotional support. Findings suggest that integrating therapy dogs into social and emotional learning initiatives can provide unique advantages and improve children’s engagement and learning of social and emotional skills. Findings are discussed within the context of human-animal interactions and social and emotional education.
... There is less support for AATs' effect on externalizing behavior problems, such as aggression, and thus needs further investigation. Two studies found lower levels of aggression in a classroom setting with the presence of a dog versus no dog (Hergovich, Monshi, Semmler, & Zieglmayer, 2002;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003). Several studies have reported an association between empathy and time spent with animals in children and adults (Daly & Morton, 2006;Hergovich et al., 2002;Paul, 2000;Poresky & Hendrix, 1990). ...
... Two studies found lower levels of aggression in a classroom setting with the presence of a dog versus no dog (Hergovich, Monshi, Semmler, & Zieglmayer, 2002;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003). Several studies have reported an association between empathy and time spent with animals in children and adults (Daly & Morton, 2006;Hergovich et al., 2002;Paul, 2000;Poresky & Hendrix, 1990). However, due to methodological weaknesses, research has not established direct relations between empathy and time spent with animals (Beetz et al., 2012). ...
Article
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Teacher’s Pet, an animal assisted therapy (AAT) was assessed in a randomized controlled trial with incarcerated youth from two Midwestern United States detention facilities. The AAT was expected to increase empathy and reduce behavior problems. Participants trained dogs for one hour, twice weekly for ten weeks. A control group walked but did not train dogs for the same duration. Both groups attended one hour, twice weekly animal didactics. Of 138 participants, 117 provided complete data, and 21 had some missing data imputed. Contrary to expectation, both groups increased slightly in self-reported empathy, and staff and youth rated internalizing problems. The time youth spent with dogs plus animal didactics may have increased empathy. Increased internalizing problems could be attributed to youth gaining greater emotional awareness. Alternately, this brief intervention may not have any immediate effects, given the small changes observed. Additional follow-up of these youth and other comparison groups are needed.
... Classroom dogs appear frequently in CAA research. Here, a well-trained dog is present in the classroom during lessons, either confined to a bed/crate or allowed to roam during teaching (Anderson & Olson, 2006;Hergovich et al., 2002). Introducing a dog to the classroom during lessons has been found to improve pupil behaviour and socialisation (Kurt & Ortbauer, 2003), and foster a more positive learning environment (Beetz, 2013;Bradley & Maldonado, 2013;Brelsford et al., 2017) provided any medical and cultural barriers are taken into consideration. ...
... Furthermore, each of the interviewees cited an example of the dog calming a pupil as evidence of the emotional benefits of CAA (Mercer, 2019). Whilst the sample size is small, other qualitative studies have had similar findings (Daly & Suggs, 2010;Hergovich et al., 2002;Kortschal & Ortbauer, 2003;Noble & Holt, 2018). ...
Article
Canine-assisted activities in schools can benefit students’ educational, emotional, and social needs. Furthermore, they could be an effective form of non-clinical mental health treatment for children and adolescents. In the United Kingdom, school dogs are growing in popularity, however, little is known about how parents perceive canine-assisted activities as a treatment option. This is important as parental perceptions can influence engagement, whilst lack of awareness can become a barrier to treatment. This study uses a cross-sectional design to quantitatively explore the acceptability of canine-assisted activities amongst UK-based parents (n = 318) of children aged six to 16 (M = 10.12, SD = 3.22). An online survey used a treatment evaluation to determine acceptability across three use-cases. These included a child reading to dogs to improve literacy skills, a child interacting one-to-one to foster greater self-esteem and social skills, and a classroom dog to improve student behaviour and motivation. Additionally, the scale for generalised anxiety disorder was used to rank child anxiety as high or low, where high was a score equal to or above the UK clinical borderline threshold. The results found canine-assisted activities were less acceptable for the behavioural than the reading and social use-cases. Furthermore, parents of children with high anxiety had higher acceptability scores than parents of children with low anxiety for the reading and social use-cases but not for the behavioural use case. These findings suggest that UK parents' acceptability of canine-assisted activities in schools is mediated by child anxiety score. Furthermore, that parents may be less aware of the benefits of classroom dogs than other types of school-based canine-assisted activities.
... For instance, Melson and Fogel (1989), suggests that children develop social and emotional skills when they observe and keep animals or interact with them.A study showed that having a dog during early childhood is significantly related with social development in both girls and boys (Dueñas et al., 2021). In another study it was found that children's empathy levels increased when they fed a pet dog in their classroom for three months (Hergovich et al., 2002) and the children with high levels of commitment for pets had higher levels of empathy and prosocial behaviors (Bratko et al., 1999;Daly & Morton, 2003). Another study found that children who have a companion animal and who scored animals higher on sentience capabilities have more pro-animal attitudes (Menor-Campos et. ...
... Attitudes towards animal rights explain 31% of variance at empathy level. There are some studies which support this finding in the literature (Ascione, 1992;Broida et al., 1993;Daly & Morton, 2006;Erlanger & Tsytsarev, 2012;Ellingsen et al., 2010;Furnham et al., 2003;Hazel et al., 2011;Hergovich et al., 2002;Hills, 1993;Paul, 2000;Poresky & Hendrix, 1990;Signal & Taylor, 2007;Taylor & Signal, 2005;Thompson & Gullone, 2008). However, Daly and Morton (2003) reported that there is not a significant relationship between attitudes towards animals and empathy; and Henry (2006) found a negative correlation between these two variables. ...
Article
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Keywords Abstract Attitudes towards animal rights Empathy Animal rights The attitudes that are formed due to human-animal interactions has proven to be an essential and unique research field for psychology. This study aims to determine whether the attitudes of adults towards animal rights significantly differ according to the following variables: gender, educational background, marital status, having children, pet ownership, and membership to non-governmental organizations dealing with animal right issues. It also examines how attitudes towards animal rights predict empathy. The participants of the study are 493 adults (289 female, 204 male), living in Turkey. The participants were determined through convenient sampling method. The data was collected through Attitudes towards Animal Rights Scale and Basic Empathy Scale. Independent samples t-test and multiple standard linear regression analysis were used for the analysis. The results revealed significant differences between the participants' attitudes towards animal rights and their gender, educational background, marital status, having children, pet ownership, having a pet in the past and membership to non-governmental organizations dealing with animal right issues. In addition, regression analysis showed that attitudes towards animal rights and having pets in the past accounted for empathy. The study showed that respect to animal rights is an important variable that accounts for empathy. Suggestions and directions for further research are discussed.
... With regard to social, emotional and behavioural benefits, these were generally perceived to be stronger than benefits to different aspects of reading (affect, frequency or skill). Teachers' perspectives aligned with previous research, which has demonstrated that the presence of a dog in the classroom is associated with improvements in SEB outcomes, in addition to increased positive emotions related to learning (Beetz 2013;Friesen 2010;Hall, Gee, and Mills 2016;Hergovich et al. 2002;Kotrschal and Ortbauer 2003;Wells 2009). Furthermore, more positive interactions with a dog can facilitate more positive interactions between children and their teacher (Beetz 2013) and stronger feelings of social and cognitive confidence (Reilly, Adesope, and Erdman 2020). ...
... improved classroom atmosphere). For example, one teacher commented that RTD enhanced classroom ambiance, which aligns with research suggesting that reading in the presence of a dog may have a positive effect on the learning environment (Hall, Gee, and Mills 2016;Hergovich et al. 2002). ...
Article
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Background Reading to Dogs (RTD) interventions have become increasingly prevalent in UK primary schools. However, there is a need for research examining teachers’ perspectives on RTD, as this could be key in influencing the uptake and adherence to school RTD interventions. Purpose This study sought to examine primary school teachers’ views of RTD in schools, exploring perceived benefits and challenges, in addition to their experience of RTD interventions. Methods The sample was gathered through voluntary/self-selecting participation in an open questionnaire-based survey shared through UK online teaching forums. In total, 253 UK primary school teachers (with varying knowledge and experience of RTD) completed the questionnaire, which focused on benefits and challenges associated with RTD identified in existing literature. More specifically, teachers’ perspectives of reading, social, emotional and behavioural benefits, and challenges (e.g. paperwork, time commitment, allergies, child/staff/dog welfare) were examined. Also, 59 teachers provided additional written comments regarding benefits and challenges associated with RTD. Results Teachers’ perspectives on RTD were generally very positive; perceptions of benefits to social, emotional and behavioural outcomes were more positive than those associated with reading outcomes. Furthermore, teachers perceived greater benefits to children’s reading affect (e.g. motivation, confidence) than their reading frequency or skill. In general, teachers reported low concerns about the challenges associated with RTD; qualitative responses suggested that, while these challenges were real, they were not seen as insurmountable. Finally, teachers with greater knowledge and/or experience of RTD were more positive about its benefits and had fewer concerns about the challenges, although there were some exceptions. Additional written responses provided qualitative insights into teachers’ experiences of RTD. Implications and conclusion Overall, UK primary school teachers in our sample were very positive about RTD; while they acknowledged challenges, these were not regarded as barriers to implementation. Furthermore, teachers could provide useful insights into the benefits and challenges associated with RTD from a practical and pedagogical perspective. Indeed, this study highlights the importance of gaining teachers’ perspectives of interventions that affect them and their pupils. Understanding teachers’ varied perspectives, and experiences, of educational interventions is essential to ensure that their professional and pedagogical knowledge feeds into future intervention design and implementation, in addition to future research and evaluation.
... There is preliminary evidence which suggests that therapy dogs can enhance children's well-being in a variety of settings from schools, hospitals, airports, and courtrooms. Therapy dogs have been found to reduce physiological symptoms of stress through lowering cortisol levels (8), increasing positive emotions (1,(9)(10)(11)(12)(13), promoting engagement in learning activities and positive attitudes toward learning (6,11,14,15), reducing negative behaviours like task avoidance and aggression in the classroom (16)(17)(18)(19), as well as encouraging prosocial behaviours and acting as a "social catalyst" to facilitate social interactions with others (16-18, 20, 21). ...
Article
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Therapy dogs in educational settings have gained increase traction in recent years. Despite its potential benefits and popularity, there remain concerns of perceived risks such as sanitation, allergies, and safety issues, as well as a lack of guidelines, regulations and support resources available to school staff. Research is further lacking into the implementation process of therapy dog programs in educational settings. To construct a set of recommendations for school staff to achieve successful implementation of a therapy dog program, the present study investigated the perceived facilitative and impeding factors when implementing a therapy dog program. A total of 13 school staff and 2 coordinators from therapy dog organisations took part in an open-ended online survey and/or a semi-structured interview over the phone, with the aim of gathering their perspectives of implementing a therapy dog program in schools. The thematic analysis of the data indicated facilitative factors such as program flexibility, whole-school support, the need for communication and training for all staff, as well as dog welfare. Successful implementation of therapy dogs in an education setting appear to revolve around (1) flexibility of the dog therapy program to target school's needs, (2) qualities of program instigator, (3) whole-school support, (4) communication, training and education, (5) considerations for dog's welfare. Key barriers identified included a high workload, lack of guidelines on processes, lack of support from the school community, as well as the need for better understanding of the role of a therapy dog. The results highlighted the importance of a whole-school effort when implementing a therapy dog program, as well as the need for guidelines for assessing school readiness, key factors for consideration, and strategies to overcome challenges associated with program implementation.
... Paul and Serpell [30] found that normal families who obtained a dog, 1 month later engaged in more leisure activities together and their children were more often visited by friends. In a classroom of first-graders, the presence of a dog led to a better social integration among students, as documented via indirect psychometric indicators [31] as well as via direct behavior observation [32]. ...
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Poor knowledge is available on the effectiveness of reading to dogs in educational settings, particularly in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In this study, we test the hypothesis that reading to a dog improves propensity towards books and motivation to read after the end of the programme, as well as reading and cognitive skills in children with ASD. The study is a prospective, randomized controlled trial, consisting of testing and re-testing after a 10 sessions reading programme with and without the presence of a dog. Nine Children with ASD (6–11 years old) were randomly assigned to a control (CG, reading without a dog, n. 4) or experimental group (EG, reading to a dog, n. 5). Children’s attendance at reading sessions was recorded at each session. Parents’ perceptions were evaluated at the end of the programme to detect changes in children’s attitudes and motivation toward reading. Psychologist-administered validated reading (Cornoldi’s MT2 reading test; test of reading comprehension, TORC; metaphonological competence test, MCF) and cognitive tests (Wechsler intelligence scale for children Wisc IV, Vineland) to all children, at baseline and at the end of the reading programme. Compared with CG children, children in the EG group participated more frequently in the reading sessions, and they were reported to be more motivated readers at home after the programme. However, there were no differences on reading and cognitive tests’ scores either within each group of children or between groups. Further studies are warranted in order to understand whether and how incorporating dogs into a reading programme is beneficial to Children with ASD at the socio-emotional and cognitive level.
... It has been suggested that the important role of dogs in Hinduism may be an impediment for successful program adoption (30), but in Sikkim, it has facilitated program adoption. An increase in empathy and improved attitudes to animals has been shown to increase empathy to humans and facilitate prosocial behavior (31)(32)(33)(34)(35)(36), which may in turn motivate health behaviors including participation in vaccination campaigns (28). A critical feature in the SARAH program is the recognition of the significance of human-animal relations and culturally appropriate framing of community education messages. ...
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A third of the world rabies burden is in India. The Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health (SARAH) program is the first state-wide rabies program in India and demonstrates a successful One Health model of dog-mediated rabies elimination. The SARAH program was created in 2006 as a collaboration between the Government of Sikkim and international non-government organizations—Vets Beyond Borders and Fondation Brigitte Bardot. Activities are directed to canine rabies vaccination, humane dog population control, community education, and treatment of sick and injured animals. In 2005, there were 0.74 human rabies deaths per 100,000 (4 deaths) within Sikkim, and from 2006 to 2015, there were no human rabies deaths. In 2016, two human rabies deaths were reported near the West Bengal border region. From 2005 to 2010, the incidence of animal rabies is unknown; from 2010 to 2016, eight cases of animal rabies were reported. Major challenges for the program are continued commitment to rabies control in the face of 0 to low human rabies incidence and the risk of rabies incursions. Effective intersectoral communication between Health, Veterinary, Forestry, and Police officers is essential to enable rapid response to animal bite incidents and possible rabies incursions. An integrated One Health approach needs to be maintained with enhanced active rabies surveillance. Other states must establish similar programs if India is ever to achieve a goal of eliminating dog-mediated human rabies.
... Research has indicated the beneficial effects of animals for reducing problematic behaviour in childhood [46], and such benefits could be explained through an increase in self-esteem, empathy, sense of responsibility, and social competence [47,48]. This is important because one of the most common reasons for referral to a childhood mental health service is externalizing problems, and so understanding how children can develop skills to regulate behaviour and emotions is important [49]. ...
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Emerging evidence suggests that pet dogs can offer features of a secure attachment which has been associated with healthy psychological development across the lifespan. Limited research has investigated the underpinning mechanisms that may contribute to the benefits and risks of child–dog attachment during childhood. This study aimed to test the potential mediating role of caregiver-observed positive and negative child–dog behaviours, on the relationship between child-reported child–dog attachment, and caregiver-reported child psychopathology and emotion regulation. Data from 117 caregiver reports and 77 child self-reports were collected through an online survey in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parallel mediation analyses indicated that child–dog attachment had a significant indirect effect on conduct problems through negative child–dog behaviours only. Child–dog attachment had a significant indirect effect on emotional symptoms, peer problems, prosocial behaviour, emotion regulation, and emotional lability/negativity through both positive and negative child–dog behaviours. Although this study found modest effect sizes, the findings suggest that the types of interactions that children engage in with their pet dogs may be important mechanisms through which pet attachment contributes to psychological development throughout childhood, and therefore further attention is warranted. Positive and safe child–dog interactions can be facilitated through education and intervention, which may have implications for promoting positive developmental outcomes.
... As not all children and youth have opportunities to interact with animals within their home environment, researchers have explored the effects of HAI in educational settings and have found positive outcomes. For example, Hergovich et al. (2002) reported that students in a classroom in which a dog was present had greater empathy and autonomy compared with students who were in a classroom without a dog present. Kotrschal and Ortbauer (2003) similarly found that the presence of a dog in the classroom promoted social cohesion and reduced aggressive behaviors among students. ...
... Canine AAIs have also been shown in an RCT to reduce aggression in the treatment group, although teachers reported that in both groups all children showed increased social behaviors and empathy (Tissen, Hergovich, & Spielg, 2007). There were also studies showing that having a classroom dog for 3 months increased empathy in children (Hergovich, Monshi, Semmler, & Zieglmayer, 2002;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003) and that weekly dog visits improved student attitudes toward school attendance and learning (Beetz, 2013). All of these results show effects on social-emotional processes; although data on learning outcomes were not collected, it is logical to expect that there could be an impact on learning. ...
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The involvement of animals is almost commonplace in many schools, although actual data documenting the extent and nature of human–animal interaction (HAI) in these settings are sparse. We provide an overview of the existing research and argue that the inclusion of animals in classroom settings can have an indirect effect on learning by directly affecting motivation, engagement, self-regulation, and human social interaction through those activities in which the interaction with animals is embedded. We support this theory with examples from the growing body of work indicating that, under specific conditions, with proper safeguards, HAI activities can benefit both typically developing children and those with developmental disabilities by reducing stress and anxiety and improving social interactions and by enhancing motivation, engagement, and learning. Nonetheless, a more comprehensive evidence base is needed to support this theory and to inform policies and practices for HAI in education settings, activities, and interventions.
... Bringing small animals into the classroom, dogs visiting the classroom with a handler, and bringing a dog owned by the teacher to the school on a regular basis are some examples of these activities [7][8][9]. The main aims of educational interventions assisted by pets are to improve students' attention and discipline, to promote student-teacher relationships, to prompt creative activities, to teach humane attitudes and responsibility for a living being, and to motivate students with learning problems and other difficulties [5,7,[9][10][11][12][13][14][15]. Dogs are the most popular pet, possibly because of their ability to act as a "social lubricant", and to provide a calm atmosphere, as well as their value as rewards and motivators [9,16,17]. ...
Article
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Here we describe a pilot Dog-Assisted Activity program that was designed to improve wellbeing and social integration in a multi-cultural elementary classroom in which some episodes of bullying had been reported. We developed a 5-encounters protocol with the aim of introducing pet dogs into the class to stimulate understanding of different types of communication and behavior, ultimately facilitating positive relationships among peers. A preliminary evaluation was carried out in order to assess the effect of the program on teachers' perception of children's difficulties (e.g., peer relationship problems) and strengths (prosocial behaviors) by means of a brief behavioral screening tool, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ-Teacher version). Overall results indicate that, by means of the recognition of the dogs' behavior and non-verbal communication, children were able to express their emotions and to show behaviors that had not been recognized by the teachers prior to the intervention. In particular, the SDQ Total Difficulties scores suggest that the teacher had increased awareness of the students' difficulties as a result of the dog-assisted program. Overall, the presence of animals in the educational environment may provide enjoyment and hands-on educational experiences, enhanced psychological wellbeing, and increased empathy and socio-emotional development.
... It was the work of Birbil et al. [28] and Koutsopoulos et al. [26], which clarified its nature and firmly established the bonding concept as an inseparable part of the HCS. In addition, the literature has proven that companion animals in the classroom have been found to influence children's development positively [29,30], as well as demonstrate positive benefits across the lifespan [12,24], and at the same time they can provide adherence to instruction and memory tasks [26,5], the ability to follow instructions [31], the categorization and object recognition [32], and mainly becoming the instructional behavioural vehicle in applying the curriculum contents to most curriculum subjects [26,33]. ...
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This paper presents the innovative thesis of a holistic behavioural human-canine synergy in education. It is suggested that in utilizing dogs in the classroom, based exclusively either on the traditional interactional concept (i.e., provide emotional stabilization to students and increases their social interaction) or the much heralded present approach defined as the relational a concept (i.e., aid students in specific tasks in the classroom), is now absolute and a new approach, the bonding concept (i.e., becoming the instructional behavioural vehicle in applying the curriculum contents to most curriculum subjects) is necessary. All three concepts, individually or in combination and sometimes simultaneously, are involved in determining the nature, form and focus of the human-canine synergy. An approach based on this thesis, named Dogs in Learning (DiL) program, has been and still is successfully used in teaching the curriculum contents of the K-5 levels at the ACS Athens School, resulting in an extremely effective, efficient and mainly meaningful and fun to all involved educational experience.
... Texte original : « children learn and retain more about subjects in which they are emotionally invested (Hatano and Inagaki, 1993) and (2) (Daly et Suggs, 2010), le bien-être psychologique (Rud et Beck, 2000, la cohésion sociale (Hergovich et al., 2002 ;Kortschal et Ortbauer, 2003). ...
Thesis
Dans le système éducatif français, l’apprenant se retrouve un parmi d’autres élèves. Il est parfois difficile pour certains d’entre eux d’adopter et acquérir les codes nécessaires au déroulement d’une scolarité ordinaire. Il existe alors des structures capables de les accueillir, afin de leur proposer une autre forme de prise en charge, comme les ITEP . Cette recherche (CIFRE) s’est inscrite dans un travail collaboratif entre un ITEP, un établissement de formation aux métiers du social, une Fondation et une Université. Cette collaboration a vu le jour à partir d’un premier constat partagé : dans certains contextes, la problématique de l’apaisement des tensions au sein du groupe, le manque de cohésion et d’entraide ou l’absence de respect de l’autre bloquent les apprentissages et sont des enjeux pour les professionnels. Pour répondre à cela, certains acteurs du secteur social manifestent un intérêt probant face à l’introduction d’un animal dans leurs pratiques professionnelles. Au travers d’un cadre théorique ancré en psychologie sociale, cette recherche, porte sur l’étude de l’introduction d’un dispositif de médiation par l’animal au sein de groupes en ITEP. D’une part elle permet d’étudier les représentations de professionnels du secteur social, médico-social et éducatif, novices ou expérimentés sur l’objet « médiation animale », d’autre part, il est envisagé qu’en introduisant ce dispositif, la dimension contextuelle sera modifiée ce qui entraînera des répercussions sur les dimensions relationnelles et instrumentales.Les résultats proviennent d’analyses de questionnaires, d’entretiens, d’observations et de l’étude de carnets de bord. Ils montrent, au travers de deux enquêtes, d’une part, les différences de définitions de cet objet de représentation et l’importance de replacer l’animal et le professionnel dans ce dispositif, perçu comme innovant, au travers de sa dénomination « médiation par l’animal ». D’autre part, il révèle, que dans le contexte étudié, l’intérêt de ce type de médiation favorise une dynamique au sein du groupe. Ces résultats sont concluants pour les professionnels qui, en accédant aux dimensions du groupe, accèdent aux apprentissages.
... Of the psychosocial functioning subscales studied, the presence of a service dog had the largest impact on work/school functioning. This finding is supported by studies which have found that the presence of a dog can increase social interaction and engagement in classrooms [42,43] and in the workplace [44,45]. In addition, an early observational study found that children in wheelchairs with service dogs received more social acknowledgment by peers at school than children in wheelchairs without a service dog [18]. ...
Article
Purpose: To evaluate the effects of service dogs on psychosocial health and indicators of wellbeing among individuals with physical disabilities or chronic conditions. Materials and methods: A total of 154 individuals participated in a cross-sectional survey including 97 placed with a mobility or medical service dog and 57 on the waitlist to receive one. Hierarchical regression evaluated the effect of having a service dog on standardized measures of psychosocial health (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory) as well as anger, companionship, and sleep disturbance (Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System). Among those with a service dog, the Monash Dog–Owner Relationship Scale quantified the human–animal bond. Results: Results indicated that compared to those on the waitlist, individuals with a service dog exhibited significantly better psychosocial health including higher social, emotional, and work/school functioning. There was no significant effect of having a service dog on anger, companionship, or sleep disturbance. Among those with a service dog, emotional closeness, dog–owner interaction, and amount of time since the service dog was placed were weak correlates of outcomes. Conclusions: Findings suggest that service dogs may have measurable effects on specific aspects of psychosocial health for individuals with physical disabilities or chronic conditions. • Implications for rehabilitation • Health care providers should recognize that in addition to the functional benefits service dogs are trained to provide, they can also provide their handlers with psychosocial benefits from their assistance and companionship. • Results indicate that having a service dog was related to better emotional functioning, social functioning, and work/school functioning. Areas with no significant relationship with having a service dog included social companionship, sleep, and anger. • Although findings are from a large and representative sample of mobility and medical service dogs, there may be individual differences in how service dogs affect the psychosocial health of their handlers.
... AAAs are intended to be proactive rather than reactive in building mental wellness and resiliency universally in children and youth, and Barker et al. (2000) showed that schoolbased AAAs were especially beneficial for shy or withdrawn American children. Moreover, researchers in Vienna found that introducing a dog into a classroom setting resulted in fewer behaviour problems (Hergovich et al. 2002). Jalongo (2015) summarized the findings of short-term AAAs in the form of visits to classrooms, and these included helping children with staying on task, reading aloud, increasing pro-social behaviour, and "acquiring humane educational concepts" (p. ...
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While the importance of secure relationships between children and caregivers has been well established in the literature as an essential feature of healthy child development, the influence of animal-human relationships on healthy development and attachment is also beginning to gain attention. A burgeoning literature supports the developmental and sustainability benefits of such relationships to children. One hundred seventeen directors of childcare centres in Manitoba, Canada (16.5%) caring for 24% of children in licensed care responded to a survey about animals in childcare facilities. Findings showed that only 51% of facilities currently had animals, with fish and caged rodents being the most common. Although centre directors agreed that the benefits of centre-based animals included children learning responsibility as well as increased calmness and happiness in children, the drawbacks in terms of children’s allergies, the costs, and the inconvenience outweighed these benefits in almost half the centres. Given the benefits of animals in young children’s lives, a list of variables for consideration is provided to aid directors in decision-making about animals in childcare centres.
... One goal of AAA is to decrease isolation and loneliness of children in school settings, and Kotrschal and Ortbauer (2003) showed that the presence of a dog in a school setting could decrease the social isolation perceived by students there. Other researchers found that introducing a dog into a classroom setting also resulted in fewer behaviour problems (Hergovich, Monshi, Semmler, & Zieglmayer, 2002). Although some of the participants in AAA programs may have clinical diagnoses or problematic behaviours, use of AAA is intended to be proactive rather than reactive in building mental wellness and resiliency universally in children and youth. ...
Article
Global increases in mental illness in children and youth have precipitated a wide range of therapies to address this concern. An alternative to this reactive approach is based on models of mental wellness that enhance children’s and youths’ perceptions of well-being and health. The current project examined the effects of a universal animal-assisted activity (AAA) program on a group of minority students who attended a boarding school in Germany. The intent of the current study was to determine whether the duration and types of AAA the students experienced were associated with higher levels of perceived mental well-being. Short-term gains in calmness were demonstrated under some AAA conditions, and long-term gains in well-being resulted from minority children’s participation in rabbit club.
... For instance, showed that families engage in more social activities just one month after getting a dog (Paul & Serpell, 1996). Studies investigating having dogs in elementary school classrooms found that students in classrooms with dogs integrated socially with peers more effectively and showed higher levels of empathy than those who did not (Hergovich et al., 2002;Kotrschal & Ortbauer, 2003). Therefore, the human-animal interactions increased social cohesion. ...
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To gain an edge in performance, athletes, coaches, trainers, and sport psychologists worldwide leverage findings from psychological research to develop training and performance strategies. The field of sport psychology draws upon research on stress, anxiety, mindfulness, and team building to develop these strategies. Here, we introduce human-animal interaction as a potential area of research that may apply to athletic performance. Structured interactions with animals—particularly therapy dogs—can provide physiological benefits associated with stress and the oxytocin system, psychological benefits for anxiety and motivation, and social benefits through social support. Yet these effects have not yet been systematically investigated in athletes. Integration of human-animal interactions into athletics can occur through animal visitation programmes and resident therapy animal programmes. Integrating human-animal interactions into athletics presents some unique challenges and limitations that must be considered before implementing these programmes, and these interactions are not a panacea that will work in every situation. But, given the amount of human-animal interaction research suggesting benefits in medicine, mental health, and education contexts, it is worthwhile exploring potential benefits not just for athletic performance, but also for injury prevention and recovery. Highlights • Human–animal interaction is a potential area of research that may apply to athletic performance. • Structured interactions with animals can provide physiological, psychological, and social benefits to athletes, through it is not a panacea that will work in every situation. • Integrating human–animal interactions into athletics presents some unique challenges and limitations that must be considered before implementing these programs.
... A majority of studies in our review indicate that dogs can act as a social catalyst and "ice breaker" toward a normal communication and social performance (e.g., Guéguen and Ciccotti, 2008). Particularly for children with special educational needs, a dog may induce positive group dynamics by reducing tension and aggression and foster positive and trustful social behavior and communication (Hergovich et al., 2002;Kotrschal and Ortbauer, 2003;Sprinkle, 2008;Hutter, 2015;Martens, 2015;Correale et al., 2017;Lehner, 2017). Children with suboptimal attachment patterns, suffering from negative mental representations of social relationships, find it hard to socially connect with people and tend to replicate the negative social representations they formed in early childhood with any new human social partner (Julius et al., 2013). ...
Article
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Dogs are becoming increasingly popular in pedagogical settings. Particularly children with special educational needs are believed to benefit from dog-assisted interventions. However, reliable evidence for supporting such claims is still scarce and reports on the effectiveness of this approach are often anecdotal. With our review we aim at evaluating the literature to answer the question, whether dog-assisted interventions in an educational setting can help children with special educational needs to improve and to develop their emotional, social and cognitive skills. Following the PRISMA Guidelines, the literature was systematically searched for experimental studies until February 2021. Eighteen studies were finally included, which varied greatly in type of intervention, outcomes measured, sample sizes, and scientific quality, which precluded a formal meta-analysis. Hence, we resorted to a narrative synthesis. Overall, the studies report mixed results in the different functional domains of stress reduction, motivation, social skills, cognitive abilities, reading abilities, social conduct, and mental wellbeing. No study reported any negative effects of the intervention. The most unequivocal evidence comes from studies on dogs’ effects on physiological stress response in challenging situations and on motivation and adherence to instructions, reporting significantly lower levels of cortisol in both children and pedagogues in the presence of dogs, as well as increased motivation to learn and participate. Findings for other outcomes, academic or social, however, remain inconclusive. Data on long-term effects are lacking altogether. Still, this review indicates the potentials of dog-assisted interventions in special pedagogy, particularly towards supporting a calm and trustful social atmosphere.
... Finally, studies have demonstrated that dogs are a valuable resource for social integration. A study looking into peer interactions demonstrated that students without disabilities were ten times more likely to interact with a peer with disabilities in the presence of a dog (Katcher, 1997, cited by Jalongo, Astorino, & Bomboy, 2004 Many studies that investigate the impact of animals on social skills also assess the emotional/behavioral outcomes of students (Beetz, 2013;Hergovich et al., 2002;Sprinkle, 2008;Tissen et al., 2007). One study investigated how the presence of a dog in a classroom impacts social and emotional experiences in school as well as emotion regulation strategies among third-grade German students. ...
Article
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Integrating dogs into learning environments is becoming more prevalent as growing evidence demonstrates positive benefits of dogs on human functioning. To date, there is no known quantitative review of research that specifically investigates the impacts of dogs within school/classroom environments. We sought to fill this gap with a meta-analysis that includes a comprehensive search investigating the effects of dogs on learning with ele- mentary, middle, and high school students. Specific outcomes investigated were reading, social skills, and emotional/behavioral skills. In addition, we also sought to understand how characteristics of students and dogs and method- ological features facilitate the effects of animal-assisted learning on learning outcomes. After an extensive search for studies meeting specified inclusion criteria, data from 20 studies were extracted yielding 66 independent effect sizes. In general, results showed that the inclusion of dogs within learning environments produces positive learning outcomes for students. We conclude with limitations and implications of the review.
... An abundance of benefits from dog ownership have been published with respect to human health (Raina et al., 1999;Allen, 2003;Knight and Edwards, 2008), social facilitation and companionship (Filiatre et al., 1986;Paul and Serpell, 1996;Raina et al., 1999;McCardle et al., 2011a, b), and child development (Hergovich et al., 2002;Kotrschal and Ortbauer, 2003). Despite these benefits, a large proportion of the pet dog population are perceived by their owners to display problematic behaviours (40-87 %, Voith, 1985;Campbell, 1986;O'Farrell, 1992;Lund et al., 1996;Martínez et al., 2011). ...
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... Living with pets influences personality variables, the development of empathy [27,28] and social and cognitive skills [29], and strengthens the immune system in children [22]. Other health benefits include those related to animal-assisted interventions. ...
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The "Gestaltwahrnehmungstest", a computer-based method which measures field dependence, is presented. The subjects are required to identify a simple hidden figure (embedded) in geometric and "meaningful", i.e., everyday designs. The test consists of 30 items and was constructed according to the dichotomous model of Rasch. Conformity with this model was found in a sample of 460 subjects. The item and person parameters showed good discrimination in the middle range of the latent trait dimension. The reliability on the basis of the Rasch analysis was .87. The reliability coefficients, which were computed by classical test theory methods, were high. The internal consistency of the test was between .85 and .95 (for the split-half reliability the coefficients ranged from .83 to .94). The retest reliability was computed in one study (n=89) and was found to be .65. Some studies support the construct validity of this measure. In one study (n=177) the "Gestaltwahrnehmungstest" and the Embedded Figures Test (EFT) correlated (r=.51); the correlation with intelligence (measured with the "Wiener-Matrizen-Test") in the same sample was .30. Finally, two studies are presented which aimed to find interindividual differences between field-dependent and field-independent subjects (the sample was divided in half using the median of the scores of the Gestaltwahrnehmungstest). One experiment (n=251) suggested that field-dependent subjects are not as able as field-independent subjects to segregate affect from cognition in a judgment task. According to the results of the second study (n=54), field-dependent subjects are more cooperative in social dilemmas than field-independent individuals.
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Man has had animal companions since prehistoric times, as reflected in folklore, legends, and literature. In an urban, technological society such as ours, closeness to animals can reduce alienation. Development over the life cycle can be favorably influenced by close association with an animal companion, particularly during middle childhood and old age. The development of empathy, self-esteem, self-control, and autonomy can be promoted in children through raising pets, while the loneliness of old age can be eased and deterioration warded off by nurturing an animal. Psychologists have not studied animal-human relationships to date, and such research is long overdue.
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Research suggests that attitudes toward animals are established through childhood experiences. Currently, educational wildlife experiences for most urban children are available only at zoos and wildlife parks. To clarify the cognitive and emotional effects of distance, visibility, and tactile stimulation generated by various ways of exhibiting animals, 308 parents and their 3- to 7-year-old children were interviewed in Main Zoo and Petting Zoo areas. Children at Petting Zoos spent more time watching, touching, and talking to the animals than at Main Zoos, demonstrating that, even when live animals are very close and visible, children are significantly more interested when they can touch, pet, or cuddle. Parents felt that touching and petting were extremely important in teaching respect and appreciation for all animal life.
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Zusammenfassung. Der Gestaltwahrnehmungstest als computergestutztes Verfahren zur Messung der Feldabhangigkeit wird vorgestellt. Die Aufgabe der Testpersonen besteht darin, eine in einem Muster (geometrische wie auch “sinnvolle” Figuren) versteckte (“eingebettete”) Suchfigur zu identifizieren. Das 30 Items umfassende Verfahren wurde nach dem dichotomen logistischen Modell von Rasch konstruiert. An einer Stichprobe von 460 Personen konnte Modellgultigkeit nachgewiesen werden. Die angegebenen Item- und Personenparameter sprechen fur eine gute Differenzierung im mittleren Leistungsbereich. Die Reliabilitat des Tests im Rahmen der probabilistischen Testtheorie betragt .87, zusatzlich werden Ergebnisse mehrerer Untersuchungen zur internen Konsistenz (α = .85 bis α = .95) und zur Split-Half-Reliabilitat (r = .83 bis .94) prasentiert. Die Retest-Reliabilitat wurde in einer Studie (n = 89) berechnet und lag bei .65. Einige Studien konnten die Konstruktvaliditat des Verfahrens belegen. In einer Untersuchung an 177...
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This study focuses on three factors presumed to affect young children's development: their age, the quality of their home environments, and the child-pet relationship. Three sets of analyses are presented: effects associated with pet ownership (pet presence), effects associated with the strength of the child-pet relationship, and the combined effects of age, home environment, and the child-companion animal relationship. This study includes both a parent survey (n = 88) and in-home assessments (n = 44) of the three- to six-year-old children. The analyses support the hypothesis that normal preschool children's intellectual, motor, and social development is associated with the presence of a companion animal and increases with their age, the quality of their home environment, and their relationship with a companion animal. While the children's age and the quality of their home environments were associated with measures of the children's cognitive, motor, and social development, the companion animal effect was limited to the young children's social development including their empathy for other children.
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Four dimensions of attachment are distinguished, based on the psychological literature on children's attachments to others: (1) time with and activities directed toward the attachment object; (2) interest in and affect expressed toward the attachment object; (3) knowledge about the attachment object; and (4) behavioral responsiveness to the attachment object. Considering pets as attachment objects, research bearing on each of these dimensions is reviewed, with particular attention to methodological issues. Future directions for research on each dimension are noted.
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A sample of 514 adults completed a postal questionnaire measuring both their empathy with humans (using the Mehrabian and Epstein (1972) Questionnaire for the Measurement of Emotional Empathy) and their empathy with non-human animals (using the Animal Empathy Scale, developed for this study). There was a significant, but modest correlation between the two scales (Kendall's tau=0.26, p<0.001), indicating that although the two types of empathy measure are in some way linked, they are unlikely to tap a single, unitary construct. This conclusion is reinforced by the finding that human- and animal-oriented empathy exhibit different levels of association with different potential sources of variation. Animal-oriented empathy was related to the current ownership of pets (U=19825.5, p<0.0001) and to the ownership of pets during childhood (U=10271.0, p<0.01), while human-oriented empathy was related to currently having a child or children at home (U=21020.5, p<0.05).
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While studies of human/animal interactions have generated much creditable research, have produced a considerable body of related experimental data, and have pointed to many fruitful future lines of inquiry, their authors have been accused of having no theoretical foundations. But studies of the human/companion animal bond (H/CAB) already undertaken have been based on animal/animal, human/human, and human/object relationships as analogous theories most likely to provide the comprehensive inductive, deductive, and functional theoretical bases needed. In order to arrive at a more encompassing theory that can be used to organize data and results, to explain obtained results, and to generate reliable predictions for data not yet obtained, the present weaknesses in each of the models need to be rigorously analyzed for likenesses and differences, and those data that do not seem to fit any of the model analogues must be pinpointed for more exacting research.
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Examples of child-animal interactions from a year-long ethnographic study of preschoolers are examined in terms of their basic nonverbal processes and features. The contingency of interactions, the nonhuman animal's body, its patterns of arousal, and the history of child-animal interactions played important roles in determining the course of interactions. Also, the children flexibly accommodated their interactive capacities to the differences in these features which the animals presented. Corresponding to these observable features of interaction, we argue that children respond to variations in animals' agency, coherence, affectivity, and continuity. Recent research shows infants also respond to these dimensions in interactants. The implications are that for the young child, animals are social others that present intrinsically engaging degrees of discrepancy from human social others; and that the child's sense of self takes shape in the available interspecies community. Interacting with animals may be more primary than human-centered factors (such as cultural meanings, anthropomorphism, social facilitation, or psychodynamic processes) in the child's experience and developing understanding of self and animal other. Implications for the theories of social development are discussed.
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This study assessed the maintenance of the effect of a year-long school-based humane education program on fourth grade children's attitudes toward animals. Generalization to human-directed empathy was also measured. Using a pretest-posttest (Year 1) follow-up (Year 2) design and ANCOVA, we found that the experimental group (children who experienced the program) humane attitudes mean was greater than the control group mean at initial posttesting and at the Year 2 follow up. At both Year 1 and Year 2 posttesting, the enhancement of attitudes toward animals generalized to human-directed empathy, especially when the quality of the children's relations with their pets was considered as a covariate. The results contribute to the growing literature on the significance of the relations between children and animals, and serve to encourage humane education efforts.
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This paper reviews the patterns and effects of early adolescents' involvement in the care of animals and the relationship between that experience and selected family and individual variables. It provides baseline data on early adolescents and animal involvement concerning: species of animals, family income, family relationships, parental views of animal raising, animal owner self-esteem and self-management, and the view of youth on the benefits of animal involvement.
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It is generally assumed and stated that measures of field dependence are measures of cognitive style. The present author examines this assumption at 2 levels: conceptual and empirical. At the conceptual level, several criteria (e.g., N. Kogan's [1971, 1973] classification) defining cognitive style are examined. At the empirical level 3 alternative explanations are considered: general ability, spatial ability, and fluid ability. It is found that the measures of field dependence do not meet the criteria for a cognitive style at the conceptual level and that at the empirical level there are substantial correlations with standard ability tests. (72 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Discusses research on the significance of human–animal relationships and considers possible reasons for this bond. Case examples show how the human–animal bond can be incorporated into a guidance and counseling program. The most important part of this approach is that it helps establish a rapport with the children being counseled. Suggestions for this approach are offered. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Discusses pet care programs (PCPs), as educational intervention for students with pervasive developmental delay/autism. PCP involves care and handling of domestic animals within the confines of the classroom. Opportunities to work with a variety of pets on a regular basis serve to reduce or eradicate these children's worry and fear, and results in increased student confidence and comfort when handling domestic animals. Daily pet routines, where the child cares for and nurtures a living creature, foster a sense of student responsibility. They also serve as a vehicle for receptive and expressive language development. Preliminary activities involve selection of the pet, its actual purchase, and preparation of a step-by-step daily pet care routine. Among the PCP benefits are development of responsibility, and self-help, decision making and problem solving skills, social interaction with adults and peers in the community and school. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Field dependence-independence was originally conceived as a neutral style dimension, in that field-dependent subjects were considered to be as well-adapted to their environment as field-independent subjects. Subsequent authors, however, questioned this assumption of neutrality, on the grounds that field-independent subjects generally perform better in certain intellectual tasks. Such findings provoked interest in the possible repercussions of field dependence-independence for education. Here, we review research into the possible effects of FDI on achievement at school. In general, field-independent subjects perform better than field-dependent subjects, whether assessment is of specific disciplines or across the board. We discuss possible explanations for this difference in performance. La dépendance/indépendance à l'égard du champ (DIC) a été initialement conçue comme une dimension neutre de style cognitif; les sujets dépendants du champ étaient considérés aussi bien adaptés à leur environnement que les sujets indépendants du champ. Par la suite les auteurs ont cependant remis en cause ce postulat de neutralité du fait que les sujets indépendants du champ ont en général de meilleures performances dans certaines tâches cognitives de tels constats ont suscité de l'intérêt pour les répercussions possibles de la DIC en éducation. Les auteurs font une revue des recherches sur les effets possibles de la DIC sur la réussite scolaire. En général, les sujets indépendants ont de meilleures performances que les sujets dépendants, que l'évaluation porte sur des disciplines spécifiques ou qu'elle soit générale. Les auteurs discutent les explications possibles de ces différences de performance.
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Boston College, 1984. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 165-172). Photocopy.
Article
Reviews the spatial abilities literature. Psychometric consideration encompasses (a) factor analytic studies that conclusively demonstrate the existence of at least 2 spatial factors--Visualization and Orientation, and (b) predictive validity studies that argue for the social relevance of these factors. Sex differences in various aspects of perceptual-cognitive functioning (e.g., mathematics, field independence) are interpreted as a secondary consequence of differences with respect to spatial visualization and spatial orientation abilities. Sources of variation in performance on spatial tests including environmental, genetic, hormonal, and neurological are considered, with special emphasis on age and sex differences. Evidence that variation in spatial test scores is to some degree heritable remains positive; however, the X-linked recessive gene hypothesis that has served as a tentative explanation for sex differences in spatial abilities and for the mode of genetic transmission is not supported strongly in recent studies. Neurological studies showing variations in the lateral organization of the human brain provide experimental evidence for a structural source of the variation in spatial abilities, and this evidence is reviewed as it relates to human handedness and cerebral bilateralization for spatial and linguistic functions. (9 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
The Young Children's Empathy Measure is a brief measure of young children's cognitive and affective perspective taking developed to assess preschool children's empathy. The Cronbach alpha coefficient of internal reliability for the empathy score was acceptable and interrater reliability across four rates was very high. The children's empathy scores were correlated with their ages and social development, but not with their IQs. Empathy toward children was correlated with empathy for pets, and children with a strong pet bond had higher scores on empathy for children than young children without pets.
The relevance of family and neighborhood animals to social-emotional development in middle childhood
  • B K Bryant
Das Tierbild des Kindes im Verlauf seiner kognitiven Entwicklung. Unveröffentlichte Diplomarbeit
  • B Killian
Dogs as an aid in the social integration of children
  • K B Kotrschal
  • B Monshi
  • V Semmler
  • G Ziegelmayer
  • G Guttmann
  • B Ortbauer
Development of social skills as a function of being reared with pets
  • M M Levine
  • S Bohn
Children's ideas about pets and their care
  • G F Melson
  • C Sparks
  • S Peet