Gee lead author of study that show pets can improve classroom learning

Lisa Eikenburg

Psychology professor Nancy Gee was the lead author of a study published in August in the journal American Educational Research Association Open that demonstrates the true impact that pets can have on the behavior and learning of children in a classroom setting.

“Human–Animal Interaction Research in School Settings: Current Knowledge and Future Directions” is the first comprehensive overview of global research that examines the benefits of animals in the classroom. It shows how animals can reduce stress and anxiety, improve social interaction and increase motivation and learning.

"There are so many anecdotes about how animals affect student learning, but there isn't much data about the benefits of human-animal interaction in these settings," said Dr. Gee, Waltham human-animal interaction research manager. "This paper brings together research from around the world and organizes it within a framework that helps us understand the impact of animals on kids in a learning setting. It also helps guide the direction of future research on this topic," Gee added.

This review of research was conducted by the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition and the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. England-based Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition is part of Mars Petcare.

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