animal human translation animal psychology bowlingual dog translator dogs japan meow lingual meowlingual

Bowlingual Dog Translator

I have owned a variety of dogs since I was five years old, and some seemed to be talking to me. My standard poodle, Lady, was the smartest, but she understood what I told her, but was not very expressively communicative. Buster, my most recent pet, a Shih Tsu, who sadly left me almost two years ago at 17 years of age, seemed to have the most to say, but I didn’t understand him.

Gayle Ehlman has described how to interpret your pets growls and body language but Takara Tomy, a Japanese toymaker, has made a device that can translate what a dog “says” into human language and emotions in real time. Go to their website and read “how they developed with an acoustics research laboratory and a veterinarian, the Bowlingual” which works wirelessly (your dog must wear a wireless mic around the neck). Let the device catch noises made by your dog (transmission range: 10m) and it will analyze the “animal language” with a special algorithm before telling you on the LCD screen what was being “said. (Cat lovers should know that Takara Tomy has also released the Meowlingual Cat Translator.)

Since Buster was always with us, whether in the bath room or bedroom, I might insist that he sign a non disclosure agreement before fitting him with the Bowlingual. However, the Bowlingual device is probably more of a novelty than an accurate translator and reviews of the device showed that it didn’t work too well….at least with non-Japanese speaking dogs. It does seems to work OK with dogs and British men in Japan. The Bowlingual device is difficult to find in retail stores int he U.S., but there seem to be a lot of units for sale on Ebay.

By Bizarre Behavior & Culture Bound Syndromes

Dr. Kevin Volkan is a psychologist, writer, and educator with over twenty years of clinical, corporate, and academic experience. He is Professor of Psychology at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) and is on the graduate medical Faculty in the Community Memorial Health System. Dr. Volkan was one of the founding faculty at CSUCI which is the 23rd campus in California State University system where he teaches a course on atypical psychopathologies titled Bizarre Behaviors and Culture-Bound Syndromes. This course explores the outer range of extreme human behavior including paraphilias and was the inspiration for this blog. Consonant with his interest in deviant psychopathologies he also teaches clinical psychology and a course on the psychology of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Dr. Volkan has been a Silberman Seminar Fellow at The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC in 2010 and 2014. Before coming to CSUCI, Dr. Volkan was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School where he researched ways to measure medical student and physician performance, and the psychological origins of medical error. While at Harvard, Dr. Volkan also taught for the prestigious Harvard-Macy Institute, a joint program run by the Harvard Business, Education, and Medical schools. In this program he taught medical students and physicians from Harvard as well as from all over the world. Dr. Volkan’s background in psychology is varied and he maintains an active interest in several psychological approaches to understanding human nature – including socio-biological, psychoanalytic, psychometric, and cognitive-behavioral. He has had a long-standing interest in the psychology of compulsive drug use (which has similarities to the psychology of paraphilias), and has published a book on the subject. Dr. Volkan worked as a clinical psychologist for many years. This experience included serving as staff psychologist and Vice Chair of psychology at Agnews State Hospital in San Jose. During his tenure at Agnews, Dr. Volkan worked with patients who demonstrated many severe behavioral problems, including profoundly autistic, psychotic, self-injurious, and developmentally disabled individuals. Dr. Volkan was awarded the Sustained Superior Accomplishment Award from the State of California for his clinical work. In addition to his hospital work, Dr. Volkan also maintained a private practice in psychology in the San Francisco Bay Area. He served as a psychologist for the California Victim Witness program, seeing patients who were victims of crime and/or abuse. Dr. Volkan’s clients included a diverse population of people representing a wide variety of socioeconomic strata and psychological distress. Dr. Volkan received a BA in Biology from the University of California, an MA in Psychology from Sonoma State University, an EdD in Educational Psychology from Northern Illinois University, a PhD in Clinical Psychology from The Center for Psychological Studies, and a MPH in Public Health from Harvard University. In his spare time he practices martial arts and plays guitar in a rock band.

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