Training Humans 101- Special Topics: Silliness

Posted by Pia

Welcome to this week's lecture. As a reminder, My name is Dr. Minnow Salk. I am with you on my sabbatical, taking over this summer course for Dr. Pia. Today's topic- Silliness: A critical look at human silliness deficit disorder (HSDD)- is no laughing matter. The human ability to exhibit 'silliness' is decreasing at a staggering rate.

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Above is an example of visual stimuli used to assess human capacity to recognize silliness cues in non-human animals.

1 Above is an example of visual stimuli used to assess human capacity to recognize silliness cues in non-human animals.

Canine raters, involved in silliness assessment find human children to be far more capable of engaging in critical silliness tasks than their adult counterparts.
Above: Stanley tests human subjects in early pilot study on HSDD.

2 Canine raters, involved in silliness assessment find human children to be far more capable of engaging in critical silliness tasks than their adult counterparts. Above: Stanley tests human subjects in early pilot study on HSDD.

One variable used to assess a human's capacity for silliness was number of giggles per 20 second exposure to feline exhibitions of silliness like that shown above.

3 One variable used to assess a human's capacity for silliness was number of giggles per 20 second exposure to feline exhibitions of silliness like that shown above.

Humans in experimental group are tested before and after exposure to intensive silliness modeling by seasoned silliness educators like Professor Petey Schultz pictured above.

4 Humans in experimental group are tested before and after exposure to intensive silliness modeling by seasoned silliness educators like Professor Petey Schultz pictured above.

Examples of the need to master a mellow, relaxed and trusting stance as a precursor to silliness is demonstrated for human subjects.

5 Examples of the need to master a mellow, relaxed and trusting stance as a precursor to silliness is demonstrated for human subjects.

While tough to isolate and quantify, human subjects who witness simultaneous cross-species silliness are predicted to score higher on measures of silliness when compared to those who witness single species silliness alone.

6 While tough to isolate and quantify, human subjects who witness simultaneous cross-species silliness are predicted to score higher on measures of silliness when compared to those who witness single species silliness alone.

Among measures used, humans are asked to distinguish the presence or absence of silliness behaviors from ambiguous visual stimuli like that presented above.

7 Among measures used, humans are asked to distinguish the presence or absence of silliness behaviors from ambiguous visual stimuli like that presented above.

Canine researchers generate varying bids for silliness behavior and assess triggers for their respective silliness eliciting strength (SES).

8 Canine researchers generate varying bids for silliness behavior and assess triggers for their respective silliness eliciting strength (SES).

Canine confederates like Boots Malloy participate in silliness flooding exercises as part of extensive national HSDD study.

9 Canine confederates like Boots Malloy participate in silliness flooding exercises as part of extensive national HSDD study.

Following silliness exposure and training for the experimental group, subjects in both the control and experimental groups were asked to compare more serious canine expressions.... like that demonstrated by Pepper above....

10 Following silliness exposure and training for the experimental group, subjects in both the control and experimental groups were asked to compare more serious canine expressions.... like that demonstrated by Pepper above....

...with more playful, silly facial indicators...like that demonstrated by lead investigator Dr. Minnow...above....

11 ...with more playful, silly facial indicators...like that demonstrated by lead investigator Dr. Minnow...above....

Human subjects were then observed for incidence and rate of silliness. Canine and feline statisticians are currently crunching the numbers and it is hoped that none of the data will be lost in the expulsion of a hairball or other such potential setback.

12 Human subjects were then observed for incidence and rate of silliness. Canine and feline statisticians are currently crunching the numbers and it is hoped that none of the data will be lost in the expulsion of a hairball or other such potential setback.

Silliness, soon to be on the Endangered Endearing Human Behaviors List (EEHB), is a topic of fierce debate in the rest of the animal kingdom. According to Fellonious Meow, a tenured professor at Long Whiskers University, feline experts researching HSDD, fault canines for mis-training their humans to believe they are more fabulous than they actually are- thereby reducing their ability to take things in jest.

Canine experts like Dr. Treat Woofenstein, maintain that feline companions engaged in assessing the human capacity for silliness use humor and antics far too complex for the human brain to comprehend- rendering them agitated and confused- feelings that inhibit the silliness response.

While feline experts agree with the canine assessment, that perhaps feline humor exceeds the level of complexity and intelligence that the human brain can comprehend, they maintain that the rise in HSDD is still largely attributable to a failure on the part of canines- the specifics of which they have yet to determine.

Overall, canine and feline researchers do however agree that HSDD is on the rise and is fundamentally related to human's tendency to take themselves too seriously. Canine researchers suggest further research protocols to explore their understanding of the human ego and it's self limiting need to appear infallible, in control and at the center of the universe.

Expanding current studies on how and why humans consistently disown their own flatulence and attribute it to their canine companions, is among the ideas for how best to isolate facets of human motivation. Researchers hope that a better understanding of human motivation will shed light on the variables that impede silliness behavior in humans.

I look forward to your insights on this controversial topic and any accompanying visuals related to silliness across species.

In woofship,
Dr. Minnow Salk

Dr. Minnow C/O Dr. Pia at email: pia@drpiasalk.com.

Comments (12)

  • Life is a trip

  • Deer Dr Minnnnnnow.
    Excuse my typing cos my claws are a bbbbittt long tuday. Dis is DE MOST BRILLIANT post I ebber RED... Tanks fur dis wun. And dat lasssst pikture, genius.
    Winnie, AND Fala And Johnny Hinton.

  • Good morning Dr. Minnow,
    I like your pictures. I wanted to send you some but i was a very busy boy yesterday and did not get my task done. Is the topic going to be the same next week? If so, I will send you some pictures/
    Hey gang, I don't know if you go back and check the previous post to see what you missed but I always do and I wanted to make sure you saw the thing about Father's Day for next Friday. I(t is a nice cool day so far so I am going to take advantage of it and go you know where, out to my spot on the deck.
    I will check in later.
    Love to all,
    Maddox

  • Hello Dr. Minnow, Maddox, Lynn, Birthday Boy DUDLEY, and all my glue squad buddies,
    Thanks so much for the new lecture! I was laughing my gluteus maximus off! Now am busy trying to catch zzz's this morning while mom packs the car but needed to check my DW friends.
    Dr.Minnow, I donot agree that HSDD is on the down side after all the silliness I have observed humans exhibiting lately in the animal care field. Dancing the moon walk, disco stuff with the loud hospital parrot Shaggy, laughing and playing with the dogs and cats. Maybe it is modeling overload that is changing my people friends. I get a lot of laughs when I roll on my back smiling! Jimmy also said people who work at the cat shelter exhibit some pretty advanced silliness stuff- singing, dancing, maybe those kitties taught a different course?
    The Absolute Queen of Silliness teaching has got to be a beautiful shepherd named Athena. She excels in modeling mellow poses then starts pouncing around and all the staff laughs and giggles.
    Maddox, we really like your Father's Day idea! Missy Chow thanks for wishing me a good vacation, will be off until Monday. DUDLEY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hope you party it up and I will bark for YOU!
    Lynn, hugs to you and I will think of you this weekend. Cora belle hope you have great adventures and barbecues.Rebel keep that flock of ducklings in line. Chloe hope you enjoy soaking in your pool.
    Wow- Mom is off to Red Sox nation.
    Love ya- Abby the risky business dog

  • How absolutely silly funny!!! Love these photos of having silliness in your human and fur-pets lives.

    I'm not sure why, but I have sent an email with several photos to Dr Minnow but for some reason they keep on bouncing...and they are not large images... :-( I'll have mommie delia check it out because I'm not that good at the computer. ;-)

    I have my human mommie Delia and daddie Al trained so well, they do what ever I want at the sound of my meeuuw....honestly they were so easy to train... he he

    weekend coming!
    stay happy and safe all my glue-squad friends,

    Kitty =^. .^= prrrrrruuuurrrr

    delia says hello!

  • Oops, forgot DUDLEY'S BIRTHDAY!!!! Happy, Happy Woof, Woof Birthday Dudley... <3 :-)

    Kitty & delia

  • Hey Dr. Minnow!
    I have found this to be a verrrry interesting study. As for my humans, I find them to be very silly. They will actually call me Puppy-Do in front of other humans. Boy, do they look silly!
    By the way, everybody at our house owns up to their own gas bombs. LOL
    Have a great day everybody!
    Your pal,
    Rebel

  • Good morning Dr. Minnow,
    Your lecture was quite a fascinating one indeed today. HSDD is something that should not be on the rise. If the billboards around the nation had your photos from the DW, then I believe the world would start being a better place. I am calling Thursday now, "smile" day with all the funny research photos from you Dr. Minnow. Abby, I hope you have a great vacation--stay away from the ticks---the DW has had enough tick problems for a lifetime---I will miss you lots!!!! Maddox, I know why we call you the Professor---you are always thinking. The Father's Day tribute is a great one. Dudley, if you were here I would make you some Warrior Prince biscuits for your birthday. Do you have any Chiweenies to invite to your party---if not, borrow Cora Belle's. Last night at midnight we had Tornado Sirens going off for our area. It was weird at that time of night and so close in the city. We are safe and no damage to the homefront and garden. I saved the best for last. Guess what? The portrait Delia did of our Basil Boy arrived yesterday, and it looks like he is right here with us. I used to frame and never saw an artist as good as our Delia. His whiskers and marking are perfect. I can hardly wait to put it up. And if that wasn't enough---a teeny, tiny, little one inch rock with his portrait to carry with me. Delia, thank you clear up to God. I am going to a mother-daughter tea with Sara, my daughter today. I didn't do these things for a long time and would not leave my boy, but am slowly but surely learning outside my box. Everyone have a great day and I hope our little Zoe girl is stopping itching.
    Hugs & smiles,
    Lynn

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    And hello to you too Dr. Minnow. I missed yesterday; Daddy was out of town most of the day. I don’t get to use his computer when he is away. He won’t give me his password. He always tells me that if he gives me his password, then he won’t have one. I guess I’ll have to ask him to ‘share’ the password. Maybe that will work. I really don’t know why some humans act so silly around pets. I always have someone talking to me like I was a little child. Come on people, I’m an adult dog and can understand what you are talking about in adult language. Just say things like: such a beautiful boy, you are so well mannered, you have lovely eyes, you have such a bushy tail, and things like that. Yeah, that’s what you say to me. Here comes Daddy, got to run for now.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Hi Dr. Pia and Minnow, Thanks for another great blog today! I can't comment much because my computer is about to 'crash' again and it need to be fixed ASAP! Hope all of you have a great day and wil return soon. Love, Jan & DDR

  • love the silly pictures...little stiff and sore..Lucinda left the back door open a crack while bringing in groceries and I went out and fell off the ramp..she went nuts..told her it takes more than that to get a old farm/ranch dog down..over and out, Cora-Belle

  • Thanks for the education!

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