Who We Are
The Boston College Canine Cognition Center is a woman-led, community-centered research environment. We contribute to the understanding of human cognitive evolution by investigating the behavior of modern canid species. We believe the best research is creative, inclusive, and collaborative; this is the foundation of our approach.
Our community is at the center of our mission! We value you – our participants – most of all. Join our community, contribute to innovative research, and bring your fluffy friend for the ride! Sign up to be a BCCC team member and contribute to citizen science.
Dogs have coexisted with humans for thousands of years. Research indicates that something very special occurred to integrate dogs into human society – domestication. As a lab, we investigate domestication’s impact on canids’ evolutionary history. This helps us improve our understanding of humans. Why? Because humans might have been domesticated too.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why Study Dogs?
Humans and dogs share an environment. Don’t believe us? Well — don’t you, your family, or your neighbors have dogs? Additionally, dogs and humans engage in behavior that’s relatively rare, and that’s sociality. The fact that humans and dogs can co-exist with many other individuals is a special trait that may have evolutionary implications. All of this is to say — dogs and humans have a lot in common. We’re interested in understanding the relationship between these commonalities to better understand what dogs can tell us about the evolution of humans.
What do dog cognition studies look like?
Our research involves lots of treats! We use simple games and custom puzzles to measure how dogs make choices in certain situations. We look at all sorts of things. Examples include measuring a dog’s gaze or asking a dog to choose between two locations. Check out an example video!
The games we do are relatively simple, but en-mass give us insight into the ways dogs make decisions.
How do I sign up?
You can make an account on SONA to get started. After you request an account and change your autogenerated password, you’ll need to complete a pre-screening upon your first log-in. This must be done for every new dog you bring to the lab.
After your pre-screening, submit your dog’s rabies records to tinyurl.com/BCCCvetrecords, then sign-up for an initial visit at tinyurl.com/BCCCinitialvisit!
I have two dogs. How do I use SONA?
Each dog must have their own SONA account. This will require the use of more than one email address.
How can I learn about your research?
Check out our interviews and articles on our media page and on the bottom of our home page.
How can I join your team?
Please carefully review the for-students page of our website. We strongly recommend subscribing to our application listserv, linked on the for-students page. Additionally, you will find detailed information for our semester and summer applications. Due to the small size of our team, we are unable to accept unpaid volunteers.