Bustad Lecture with Megan Mueller
Distinguished Lecturer is Megan Mueller, a psychologist and co-director of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction at Tufts University
The Human-Animal Bond and Developmental Science
Lecture Description: The human-animal bond plays a key role in constructing the fabric of many communities across the world. Exploring how human-animal interactions fit within the integrated ecology of family systems requires nuanced scientific tools and a diverse array of research designs. Human-animal relationships are complex, dynamic, and highly individual. The level of scientific innovation applied to human-animal interaction research continues to increase rapidly, and approaches rooted in developmental science allow researchers to explore and explain the inherent complexities in these relationships. Understanding when and how companion animals contribute to family systems provides critical information for practitioners and policymakers about how to design interventions and programs that will support human and animal health and well-being across the lifespan.
Speaker BIO: Dr. Megan Kiely Mueller is an Associate Professor of human-animal interaction at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and Co-Director of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction. She is also a senior fellow at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University and teaches in the M.S. in Animals and Public Policy program at the Center for Animals and Public Policy. Dr. Mueller is a developmental psychologist, and her research program focuses on assessing the effects of pet ownership and animal-assisted interventions on adolescent development and family functioning. In particular, her work focuses on how human-animal interaction can support youth with social anxiety and promote thriving in adolescence. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and private foundations, and she was recently the recipient of a NARSAD Young Investigator Award. Her work has been published in numerous scientific journals and media outlets. She is also a board member of Tufts Paws for People, a Pet Partners Community Partner therapy animal group.