Dr. Gregory Berns, author of “What It’s Like To Be A Dog: And Other Adventures In Animal Neuroscience.”

by | Nov 1, 2017

Dr. Gregory Berns—author of multiple books, including The New York Times bestseller “How Dogs Love Us”—discusses his new book, “What It’s Like To Be A Dog: And Other Adventures In Animal Neuroscience.” GregBernsA professor of psychology at Emory University (and an M.D.), Berns explains that a confluence of factors—chiefly missing his beloved pug, Newton, who had recently passed away, as well as being struck by the news that there was a dog who participated in the Bin Laden raid–prompted him to adapt his longstanding research involving MRI scanners with humans and expanding it to dogs, seeking to assess what they think and feel, figuring that if dogs could be trained to function amidst the noise of a military helicopter, they52197350 could be trained to enter an MRI scanner. He notes that dogs don’t have any preconceptions or dread about MRIs the way humans do and, once trained, not only became comfortable with the machine, but also in some cases, become eager to get back in. Berns summarizes some of the findings, including how the dogs responded to food versus praise, and their ability to recognize faces. He also spends some time explaining his quest to learn more about the thylacine, a marsupial also known as the “Tasmanian tiger,” which is Greg&Callie_smallconsidered extinct, though there are many people, particularly in Tasmania, who maintain the animal still lives (a few claim to have seen a thylacine in recent in recent years, though no recent photograph or other documentation exists). Dr. Berns says in this interview “I became obsessed” with the thylacine, in no small measure because it looks like a dog, arranging to borrow not one but two preserved thylacine brains to scan. He goes on to describe the work he did assessing the brains of sea lions that have been stranding themselves in record numbers on California beaches and shorelines; turns out there’s a toxic algae that fish in those areas consume, and those fish are in turn eaten by the sea lions, who become stricken, and can no longer navigate….(http://gregoryberns.com)


ALSO: I spoke briefly with VeganEvan, a seven-year-old advocate who is slated to appear at the 8th Annual Tampa Bay Veg Fest, Saturday Nov. 4, speaking and rapping at the event, and also serving an emcee for some of the other Veg Fest speakers. He recounts how he became vegan, and describes some other hats he wears, including co-president and spokesperson for Animal Hero Kids and spokesperson for Solutionary Species. (www.facebook.com/VeganEvan, www.tampabayvegfest.com, https://animalherokids.org, www.solutionaryspecies.com)


COMEDY CORNER: Kyle Kinane’s “Cat Sneeze” (http://kylekinane.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock”


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