She's a Scientist: London Wolff
The Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studies dog psychology. Owners bring their four-legged friends to the “dog cog” lab to play games and participate in psychology experiments. It’s the perfect place for one research student who hopes to streamline the training process for service dogs.
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[00:00:02.476]Can you turn?
[00:00:04.770]Linus, a four-year-old English Shepherd,
[00:00:06.950]happily participates in a psychology experiment.
[00:00:10.460]Good job, buddy.
[00:00:12.200]Graduate student, London Wolff, hopes
[00:00:14.230]that Linus will help her understand
[00:00:16.300]how psychiatric service dogs do their jobs.
[00:00:20.380]So I'm trying to gather information
[00:00:21.680]that tells us more about how they understand us so well
[00:00:25.210]that they're able to help us during a psychiatric episode.
[00:00:29.090]Psych dogs are specially trained to help people
[00:00:31.960]with mental health issues like panic attacks,
[00:00:34.300]bipolar disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
[00:00:37.600]Training service dogs is a very labor-intensive
[00:00:41.060]and expensive thing to do,
[00:00:43.070]mostly because so many of them wash out
[00:00:45.410]before they can get there,
[00:00:46.760]and so you're spending hundreds and hundreds of hours
[00:00:49.320]on animals that can't even get to the point
[00:00:51.640]where they're successful,
[00:00:52.770]and so if we can find another way to ask them
[00:00:56.810]if they're going to be successful,
[00:00:58.230]that's not body language and behavior,
[00:01:00.470]that would be very beneficial to the industry
[00:01:03.750]and also to people who really need the help.
[00:01:06.140]And I think the mechanism,
[00:01:07.610]by which they're actually finding that out,
[00:01:10.610]is they're smelling what's happening,
[00:01:14.170]'cause when you're upset,
[00:01:15.750]you give off actual physical molecules
[00:01:19.950]in your sweat
[00:01:21.210]that says, "I'm very stressed."
[00:01:23.390]I think it's highly possible
[00:01:24.880]that they're picking up on those really specific chemicals
[00:01:28.620]that we have no ability to.
[00:01:30.327][Graduate Student] All right, puppy, look.
[00:01:31.950]Wolff says she fell in love with research
[00:01:34.060]when she created her first experiment
[00:01:36.160]for a high school science fair.
[00:01:38.340]What I love so much
[00:01:39.173]about research is I love having questions
[00:01:42.770]and then knowing that no one else is gonna answer
[00:01:45.580]those questions for you except you,
[00:01:47.570]and you're the only one who can go make that happen.
[00:01:50.580]Yes, always been a dog person.
[00:01:53.220]I always joke that I have no other interests.
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