Ep38 Gordon Burghardt on reptiles, critical anthropomorphism, controlled deprivation and play

Gordon Burghardt is an Alumni Distinguished Service Professor in the Psychology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology departments at the University of Tennessee in the USA, with more than 50 years of experience in the field.

Gordon gives a short overview of his work and research interests, having worked with all kinds of animals and collaborated with people all around the world. He talks about his last research project studying behaviour in black bears' dens and cubs.

Gordon shares some stories of the learning repertoire of reptiles, individuality and personality differences in reptiles, and the behaviour of snakes right at birth. He also shares other work in social behaviour and learning with spiders, fish, turtles, and stingrays.

Sabrina and Gordon talk about critical anthropomorphism, a place for emotions in behaviour system research, and comparative psychology using animal models to understand humans.

Gordon expresses his opinion on the ethical treatment of animals and the controlled deprivation of animals in captivity, sharing some examples of practical work.  

Sabrina and Gordon exchange ideas of environmental enrichment, and cognitive complexity in reptiles and amphibians.

To finish, Gordon talks about his passion and research of play in non-mammals, what is it, the origins of studying play, the criteria to identify playing behaviours, and these studies applied in zoos.

Learn more about Gordon’s research HERE

Read his paper on Behaviour in American Black Bear Dens HERE

Read his full paper on Play in fishes, frogs and reptiles HERE

Become a member of PAWS HERE


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