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Thu Apr 28, 2016, 12:02 PM

No, 'science' didn't 'prove' that dogs hate hugs

According to numerous outlets, a scientific study has found that the majority of dogs dislike being hugged, based on cues of distress found in a random assortment of photos pulled from the Internet. We at are not here to argue that you should go squeeze the life out of a puppy. But we are here to squeeze the life out of this misleading science coverage.
http://www.thegurdontimes.com/zz/lifestyle/20160428/no-science-didnt-prove-that-dogs-hate-hugs

"If you have an Internet connection, you've probably read at least one article in the past few days claiming that science has shown that dogs hate being hugged. We at are not here to argue that you should go squeeze the life out of a puppy. But we are here to squeeze the life out of this misleading science coverage.

According to numerous outlets, a scientific study has found that the majority of dogs dislike being hugged, based on cues of distress found in a random assortment of photos pulled from the Internet.

The problem here is that what's being reported as a "study" is, in fact, an op-ed written in the magazine Psychology Today by a single researcher.

"This is a set of casual observations," Stanley Coren, the retired University of British Columbia professor who penned the column, told The Post. He reiterated that his data collection wasn't part of a peer-reviewed study.

..."


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Much like the recent study on fructose, where journalists misconstrued it with HFCS, we see that science coverage is often rather poor.

13 replies, 1390 views

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply No, 'science' didn't 'prove' that dogs hate hugs (Original post)
HuckleB Apr 2016 OP
PJMcK Apr 2016 #1
HuckleB Apr 2016 #2
Delphinus Apr 2016 #4
PJMcK Apr 2016 #6
smirkymonkey Apr 2016 #3
Scruffy Rumbler Apr 2016 #5
Skittles May 2016 #10
LineNew Reply .
HuckleB Apr 2016 #7
Rex Apr 2016 #8
HuckleB Apr 2016 #9
Fumesucker May 2016 #11
HuckleB May 2016 #12
Tommy_Carcetti May 2016 #13

Response to HuckleB (Original post)

Thu Apr 28, 2016, 12:44 PM

1. General science knowledge is often rather poor

It baffles me that so many Americans have so little understanding of the basic sciences and how the scientific process works. Science is everywhere in our daily lives and yet far too many people don't have a clue about science. This ignorance is seen in many ways in our culture and in this "news story" it's illustrated perfectly.

The quick, cheap and superficial headline makes the story exciting for the general public and since the Op-Ed was published by a respected journal, it lends the tale credence. It appears that many news organizations do not have a science editor to vet a story before it's reported erroneously as the author of the column makes clear that "T)his is a set of casual observations" that wasn't part of a peer-reviewed study. And yet it was claimed as fact on The Huffington Post's front page, among many other outlets.

A real study would not use "a random assortment of photos pulled from the Internet." Just as I'm often amused by the LOLcats that are posted on DU, (thank you, SalmonChantedEvening!), I know that these are not photographs that represent the normal life of these cats. Likewise, the photos of the dogs observed by the column's author were not necessarily indicative of anything. They were probably posted online or chosen because of the dog's unusual expressions or humorous behavior.

Most dog owners would dispute this article just based on their own experiences. Like lots of others, our dog loves to be hugged and petted and he seeks affection. There was a interesting segment in the re-make of "Cosmos" where Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses how wolves evolved to become today's dogs, (Episode 2, "Some of the Things That Molecules Do". Briefly, ancient humans domesticated the canines by developing a symbiotic relationship of mutual benefits. This modern observation was based on evidence of the evolutionary process.

Perhaps this un-scientific column will inspire a proper study but, as I said, I think the basic premise is unlikely to be universally factual.

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Response to PJMcK (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 28, 2016, 01:58 PM

2. +1

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Response to PJMcK (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 28, 2016, 02:37 PM

4. Thank you for your well-reasoned response.

It is much appreciated.

As to your quote:
It baffles me that so many Americans have so little understanding of the basic sciences and how the scientific process works. Science is everywhere in our daily lives and yet far too many people don't have a clue about science. This ignorance is seen in many ways in our culture and in this "news story" it's illustrated perfectly.

We are not taught to reason. I am in my late 50's and grew up in a parochial school. Now I can't blame all things on that school system, but it was more important to believe what we were being told than it was to ask questions. When I did start to ask questions, it often garnered a negative response from the teachers. I am not sure much has changed in the intervening years.

Your response to the original post did not bash anyone and that is one great way to help educate.

And belated welcome to DU!

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Response to Delphinus (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 28, 2016, 07:57 PM

6. Thank you, too (n/t)

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Response to HuckleB (Original post)

Thu Apr 28, 2016, 02:30 PM

3. K&R

 

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Response to HuckleB (Original post)

Thu Apr 28, 2016, 02:47 PM

5. My golden hated them so much....

he would come over and lift my arm over his shoulder for a hug. He would sit up in front of my nieces and put his front legs over their shoulders and lean into them, resting his head against their's and they would stay like that for a minute or so... He hated hugging SO much! .

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Response to Scruffy Rumbler (Reply #5)

Sun May 1, 2016, 03:23 AM

10. I've never had a dog but

my friends and neighbors' dogs seem to go out of their way to try to get me to love on them

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Response to HuckleB (Original post)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 12:23 PM

7. .

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Response to HuckleB (Original post)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 12:30 PM

8. Watch out! You will be waterboarded with HFCS for your transgressions! Monster corn stalks will now

 

chase your car at night.

Come on man, the dogs TOLD him they were like really bummed out and stuff! Why do you hate The Science!?

Embrace The Science! Don't question it...like magnets and shit, how do they work!?

Fucking magic!


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Response to Rex (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 30, 2016, 04:15 PM

9. I do enjoy a good magic show!

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Response to HuckleB (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2016, 03:32 AM

11. I've been enjoying your posts lately



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #11)

Mon May 2, 2016, 10:36 AM

12. Thanks!

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Response to HuckleB (Original post)

Mon May 2, 2016, 10:41 AM

13. Yeah Science!

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