July 28, 2011

Media Advisory: Chaser Reveals Canines’ Cognitive Potential

Border collie understands nouns and verbs

What

Chaser, a border collie who can identify more than 1,000 objects and distinguish between nouns and verbs, will show off her vocabulary skills in a presentation at the American Psychological Association’s 119th Annual Convention. Chaser’s trainer, John Pilley, PhD, will present video examples of Chaser’s achievements during a plenary talk and will have Chaser give live demonstrations of her verbal learning at smaller sessions during the convention. 

When

Session 2305: Plenary Address: “Chaser and Her Toys: What a Dog Teaches Us about Cognition,” John Pilley, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology, Wofford College, South Carolina, Friday, Aug. 5, 3:00 - 3:50 p.m.
(Note:  For times and locations of Chaser’s live demonstrations, please contact the APA Convention Press Office at 202-249-4015.) 

Where

Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Street Level, Room 146C
801 Mount Vernon Pl., N.W.
Washington, D.C.

Background

Chaser learned to identify specific items with words through Pilley’s extensive training. She understands that a noun refers to an object, and is correct 95 percent of the time, according to research by Pilley and Alliston Reid, PhD. Chaser can even accurately react to random pairings of verbs and nouns, such as “fetch the sock,” their study found. Pilley and Reid documented their findings in the article, “Border collie comprehends object names as verbal referent,” published earlier this year in the journal Behavioral Processes.

Dr. John Pilley can be contacted by email or by phone at (864) 576-7880

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 154,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.