Do We Need a Pet?

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Effects of animals on children’s socio-emotional development
Clark College psychology professor Mika Maruyama

Clark College psychology professor Mika Maruyama

Many of us value our pets as sources of comfort, companionship, and protection. But what if it turned out that they were also teaching our children valuable lessons that could help them be better adults? Clark College psychology professor Mika Maruyama tackles the crucial role animals can play in early childhood development during her Faculty Speaker Series presentation, Why Do We Need a Pet? Effects of animals on children’s socio-emotional development, held Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. in the Ellis Dunn Community Room (Gaiser Hall room 213) on Clark College’s main campus.

Prof. Maruyama shares her intriguing research findings, which suggest that children learn more than we suspect from animal companions. The daily interactions they have with pets can help develop the important quality of empathy. Likewise, studies show that when children regularly mistreat animals, we need to pay attention—as it could be a warning sign of further interpersonal violence to come as the child grows up.

This presentation is free and open to the public. Individuals who need accommodation due to a disability in order to fully participate in this event may contact Clark’s Disability Support Services Office at 360-992-2314 or 360-991-0901 (video phone) or email dss@clark.edu within one week of the event.

This presentation is part of Clark’s prestigious Faculty Speaker Series. The theme for this year’s series is Microbes, Pets, and Puppets: What Animals Can Teach Us. The final presentation, Bilingual Puppetry: a Project-Based Learning Exploration by Spanish professor Elizabeth Ubiergo, is scheduled for May 12.

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