Wired To Be Social


NYT Review of “Social” by Matthew D. Lieberman

The premise of this book, while overly weighted to the neurochemical basis of behavior, nevertheless is getting deeper to the core and fits nicely with NDT tenet that there is only one drive, the Drive To Make Contact, and emotional affects evolved to compel organisms to integrate the relevant variables of their surroundings into their sense of a “Self,” Ultimately, in many organisms, this thereby enables them to self-organize into complex social systems. The most vivid example and the easiest species to study in this regard is the domestic dog. Nevertheless we don’t need neuro-imaging to discern the principles in play and get inside the dog’s mind. All that’s required is a rigorous system of evaluating complex behavior, i.e. that which plays out over time as well as space (most especially the phenomenon of learning) in terms of the immediate-moment. This leads us to the “plumbing” that underlies the wiring.

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Published November 3, 2013 by Kevin Behan
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3 responses to “Wired To Be Social”

  1. Annie says:

    I came across this article recently…I’ve just started working part time for a Neuro-Audiologist, and of course, thinking about your work with Luke, and his communication with us…the more I learn at work, the more interested I am in studying the vestibular system(space/time/information/learning)

    Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary.

    Prerecorded family dog (Canis familiaris) barks were played back to groups of congenitally sightless, sightless with prior visual experience, and sighted people (none of whom had ever owned a dog). We found that blind people without any previous canine visual experiences can categorize accurately various dog barks recorded in different contexts, and their results are very close to those of sighted people in characterizing the emotional content of barks. These findings suggest that humans can recognize some of the most important motivational states reflecting, for example, fear or aggression in a dog’s bark without any visual experience. It is very likely that this result can be generalized to other mammalian species–that is, no visual experience of another individual is needed for recognizing some of the most important motivational states of the caller.

  2. kbehan says:

    Compelling information. I do believe that every emission of an organism is an emotional “radiation” be it a sound, motion or secretion, and so this must be how someone is able to feel the emotional content of the various barks without benefit of the intellectual context.

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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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