Peter Cook, Ashley Prichard, Mark Spivak, and Gregory S. Berns, Jealousy in dogs? Evidence from brain imaging


Jealousy is a good candidate for comparative studies due to its clear adaptive value in protecting social bonds and affective relationships. Dogs are suitable subjects for investigating the evolution of jealousy, thanks to their rather sophisticated socio-cognitive abilities — which in some cases parallel those reported for human infants — and thanks to their long-lasting relationship with humans. The work of Cook and colleagues (2018) addresses the issue of jealousy in dogs through the lens of neuroscience, examining the relationship between the amygdala and jealousy. Their experiment has a number of methodological flaws that prevent distinguishing jealousy from other internal states; it also lacks behavioral indicators that could help in this endeavor. Nevertheless, it is an admirable step towards a multidisciplinary approach to the investigation of non-basic emotions in nonhuman species.

Author Biography

Emanuela Prato Previde is associate professor of Psychology at the University of Milan; she has a PhD in Psychobiology. Her main research interests are: comparative psychology; comparative cognition; animal cognition; human-animal interactions and relationships; and the human-dog relationship in particular. She runs a small research lab at the University of Milan: the Canis sapiens Lab–Comparative Cognition & Human-Animal Interaction. Website

Paola Valsecchi is associate professor of Applied Ethology at the University of Parma; she has a PhD in Psychobiology. After many years spent studying social learning in small laboratory rodents, she is focused on intraspecific social behavior of free-ranging dogs, and on social cognition and welfare in the human-dog relationship. Website