Hill, H. M. 2017. The psychology of cows? A case of over-interpretation and personification. Animal Behavior and Cognition 4(4), 506–511.

Reviews of existing literature on topics that have been neglected, such as the subject of the cognitive and affective abilities of cows, are productive and necessary exercises in science (Elwen, Findlay, Kiszka, & Weir, 2011; Mulrow, 1994). These syntheses organize and integrate bodies of literature that have been relatively isolated from one another. If performed systematically and objectively, reviews can highlight areas of research that are in need of more information or identify areas that could be integrated in novel ways. The effort made by Marino and Allen (2017) to gather the extant, fragmented literature regarding the “psychology of cows” was timely and commendable. Most of the research on sensory abilities, learning and cognition, emotion, personality, and social complexity in cows has been conducted within applied contexts, which the authors considered to be a skewed representation based on the statement below: And because these kinds of applied contexts continue to shape our understanding of cows from both a scientific and public perspective, it is all the more important to objectively assess cows on their own terms by trying to understand their psychology so that we might better align that knowledge with their welfare and interests. (p. 475)

Animal Type