|
1
Self-control

This dog brandishes a bit of self-control before he begins dining.

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

We humans can often assume that what sets us apart from animals is our regal ability to possess self-control and resist temptation to achieve what is good for us. But turns out we're not as above it all as we'd like to think. (Or at the very least, we have a fair amount of company above it all.)

Studies conducted on chimps have shown that they can delay reaching for a serving of sweets placed in front of them. They also found that chimps would use toys, pictures or objects to distract them from reaching -- just like a human who flips through a magazine to sidetrack himself from that last slice of cake in the kitchen, perhaps? Dogs have also demonstrated that their self-control functions in a similar way to humans; specifically that glucose helps them exert self-control.

So the next time you're taking Fido for a restrained walk -- or watching voles parent together or getting the stink-eye from a crow -- remember that their behavior might be instinctual or primitive, but it sure isn't solely "animal."

|