Husker DogFest to launch canine cognition lab


Jeff Wilkerson, August 8, 2018 | View original publication

Husker DogFest to launch canine cognition lab

A new University of Nebraska–Lincoln lab is going to the dogs — to study canine psychology and related interactions with humans.

Nebraska’s Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab will showcase its work during Husker DogFest, a free, open-to-the-public event, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 11 in the greenspace immediately south of Manter Hall. The event will include lab tours, professional dog demonstrations, dog activities, pet-related vendors and food vendors.

The lab is a research program created by Jeffrey Stevens, associate professor of psychology. Its research focuses on understanding both dog psychology and how interacting with dogs influences human behavior and psychology. The dog-focused part of the research will involve owners bringing their dogs into the lab to essentially play games for treats while researchers record data about their decision making and cognition. The other part of the research will have people interacting with dogs to see how it influences the people.

Stevens has been at Nebraska for seven years. Before that, he received his doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota, completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University, and was a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. His research studies decision making in humans and other animals.

Husker DogFest participants are encouraged to bring their well-behaved, leashed dogs (owners must sign a waiver of liability at the event). They will also have the opportunity to enroll dogs in studies in the lab.

Learn more about the lab.