Students studying outside the library

Chaser, Wofford researchers to appear on national TV Wednesday

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NOVA scienceNOW: "How Smart Are Animals," 8 p.m. Wednesday on PBS

Appearances also scheduled on Today Show, ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer 

(Photo by Chris Bott: Dr. Alliston Reid, left, Chaser the border collie, and Dr. John Pilley with Chaser's 1,022 toys.)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Do you want to match wits with a border collie who has gained worldwide scientific attention recently for her ability to understand the names of 1,022 objects? The dog, Chaser, and the research of Wofford’s Dr. John Pilley, professor emeritus of psychology, and Dr. Alliston Reid, the Reeves Family Professor of Psychology, will be featured tomorrow (Wednesday, Feb. 9) on NOVA scienceNOW’s “How Smart Are Animals?” program to air at 8 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings for station information.)

NOVA scienceNOW logo 150 wideAlso on Wednesday, this amazing border collie, and researchers Pilley and Reid, are scheduled to be guests on the Today Show (7-9 a.m.) (UPDATE: the segment now is scheduled to air around 8:15 a.m.) and ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer (6:30-7 p.m.). (Scheduled appearances and times are subject to change without notice.)

On the NOVA scienceNOW segment, the program's Web site says, “You’ll meet Chaser, a ‘superdog’ with a ‘vocabulary’ of more than 1,000 words, and witness as Neil deGrasse Tyson challenges the dog’s genius with a new and unexpected deductive reasoning test."

“Would you care to match wits with a dog, an octopus, a dolphin, or a parrot? You may think twice after watching the segments in this NOVA scienceNOW episode,” the site continues. “While we may not be ready to send pets to Harvard, the remarkable footage and findings presented here demonstrate that many animal species are much smarter than we assume and in ways we had never imagined.”

The research with Chaser, published in December 2010 in the journal Behavioural Processes, demonstrates that dogs, like children, can learn that certain words represent individual objects, and other words represent categories of objects, independent in meaning of what they are asked to do with those objects. Newspapers and blogs about their research have appeared in more than 46 languages and on every continent, including the Science Times section from of the New York Times, New Scientist and London’s Daily Mail.

To read and see more on this amazing dog and this fascinating research, go to

For more on the NOVA scienceNOW segment, go to

(NEWS MEDIA: More information on the research, including Frequently Asked Questions and high-resolution photographs for download are available on the Chaser page.)