Fight, fight, or freeze?
Chances are, you’re familiar with the term “fight or flight”. These words have become ingrained in our understanding of how animals tend to react when feeling stressed or unsafe. The instinctive reaction to either face an aggressor head-on or turn and run to escape conflict, and the biological processes which accompany these responses, are well-known and well-discussed in the animal kingdom. We may also talk about the “freeze” response, where animals remain motionless to avoid drawing attention from a threat. Together, these mechanisms form a repertoire of protective behaviours which aim to manage threat responses and enhance survival either as part of predator-prey dynamics or as part of managing their social groups within their species. However, another response occurs which is often overlooked - the "fawn" response.
What is the fawn response?
Better described in studies of human trauma responses, the fawn response...
Eckerd College: Liberal Arts College in Florida
We are delighted to welcome the animal behaviour class students and faculty at Eckerd College as community members to the three interconnected online platforms: Practical Animal Welfare Science (animal wellbeing), One Care (human wellbeing), and the Earth Charter & SDGs (planetary wellbeing).
Students examine human-animal relationships and learn quantitative, critical thinking, communication and research skills. Animal Studies is a truly interdisciplinary major at Eckerd, drawing from the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities to trace the history and consequences of human relationships to animals.
Founded as Florida Presbyterian College in 1960, becoming Eckerd College in 1972, with a continued focus on creative, innovative curricula in the liberal arts tradition. The waterfront campus sits on the southern tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, a region that was inhabited by the...
We are all thinking about animal care, including how we interact with them and ways we can impact their wellbeing ranging from negatively to positively, i.e., the quality of care. To think about how we do what we do is impacting them, or likely, or possibly impacting them.
One of the questions, or rather perhaps, exercises, I like to think about and engage in is: what it would be like to be in their position? Where they live, with whom, what opportunities and affordances they have, etc. This is a difficult thing to do and not without interpretational hurdles and problems, I know, I already hear the word anthropomorphism ringing in my ears.
I bet anyone working with animals would love to be able to be that animal or species or individual for 1 day (or longer)! To experience e.g., what the world is like for them, how do they experience varies things in their lives, how and what they think about, how do they feel and experience their world emotionally? Can we just be Dr...