Tag Archives: Science

[adjective][species] at Further Confusion 2017

[a][s] contributors make the occasional appearance and presentation at conventions around the world (well, okay, a few cons in the US plus Confuzzled in the UK), and Further Confusion is one of our regulars! This year, [a][s] folks have a few panels at FC2017, so if any catch your eye, stop on by and say hi!

Note that times/dates are tentative until scheduling gets locked in by con staff. Bookmark this page and we’ll keep it up to date with any changes. Data was snagged from the panel system directly, but if I missed any [a][s] contributors’ panels, shoot me an email or leave a comment!

Friday

Gender and FurryMakyo – Friday, January 13 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Hilton: Santa Clara

Both gender and furry touch on very important aspects of identity, and the fandom often provides a space in which to explore one’s gender in a safe manner. Join Makyo from Love – Sex – Fur to talk about what gender is and how it interacts with the furry subculture.

Write Now! Jakebe, Kyell – Friday, January 13 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Marriott: Salon V

Having trouble starting that short story? We’ll present a simple structure for thinking about your story–then you’ll take half an hour to actually start writing it!

The Love – Sex – Fur Guide to Healthy Relationships Makyo – Friday, January 13 – 1:00PM-2:30PM – Marriott: Blossom Hill

Interested in what all goes into having a happy, healthy, positive relationship with you and your partners? Curious on how to make long-distance and in-person relationships work? Come join us in an open panel discussing safe and healthy relationships.

Saturday

Resources and Tech for Furry Writers Makyo, Chipotle Coyote, Blackfeather Tanfur – Saturday, January 14 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

There’s a dizzying array of software, hardware and resources, both online and off, for both established and aspiring writers to use. We’ll talk about our favorites (and least favorites), from Scrivener to InDesign, writing guilds to libraries, and all points between.

Exploring the Fandom Through Data Makyo – Saturday, January 14 – 1:00PM-2:30PM – Marriott: Salan I/II/III

Come join Makyo from [adjective][species] to explore what it means to be a furry using data from seven years of the Furry Survey and several other resources. We’ll investigate the demographics and interests of the fandom to see what it is that makes us who we are.

What’s Your Problem? Jakebe, Kyell, FuzzWolf, Ryan Campbell – Saturday, January 14 – 4:30PM-6:00PM – Marriott: Almaden

Your surefire story was rejected? The panelists talk about common errors (and maybe a few not-so-common ones) that get manuscripts turned away by editors.

Adult Furry Writing Kyell, Rukis, Ryan Campbell – Saturday, January 14 – 10:00PM-11:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

Adult stories are a mainstay in the furry fiction world. Listen to some experienced authors talk about how (and why) to create effective adult stories.

Sunday

Brainstorming in Real Time Jakebe, Kyell – Sunday, January 15 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

Don’t just stop at your first idea—it’s probably not your best idea! We’ll talk about generating ideas and show you the value of brainstorming in real time, mining for idea gold. Leave this panel with free story ideas!

Philosophy and Furry MakyoCorgi W – Sunday, January 15 – 1:00PM-2:30PM – Marriott: Salon V

Curious about the ways in which we find meaning? How do furries actualize themselves in the world? Come learn about philosophy within furry from Corgi and Makyo.

The Love – Sex – Fur Guide to Safer Sex Makyo – Sunday, January 15 – 3:00PM-4:30PM – Marriott: Blossom Hill

Interested in what all goes into having a happy, healthy, sex-positive relationship with your partners? Curious on how to stay safe while playing? Come join us in an open panel discussing safe and healthy sexuality.

Mindfulness and Transformation in Action Jakebe, Kannik – Sunday, January 15 – 3:00PM-4:30PM – Marriott: Salon V

Being present and mindful is at the heart of nearly every philosophical tradition. This workshop will introduce the fundamentals of Buddhism and Philosophical Ontology, teach some practices that are useful in diffusing and bringing possibility to everyday situations, and will end with a short mindfulness meditation.

Unsheathed Live Kyell, K. M. Hirosaki, Ryan Campbell – Sunday, January 15 – 10:00PM-11:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

Everyone’s favorite highly irregular furry writing podcast returns for a Further Confusion tradition! Join Kyell Gold, K.M. Hirosaki, Not Tube, and special guest Lady Gaga. Or a manatee.

Wearing ears may be associated with depression

[adjective][species] regularly informally collaborates with the International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP), a collection of psychologists and sociologists looking at the furry community. We are amateurs, they are professionals. We have the freedom to present anything we find interesting; they are constrained by the usual rules of academic engagement.

Nuka, a furry with a PhD in social psychology, is a long-time member of the IARP as well as an occasional contributor to [a][s]. In conversation about data (the best kind of conversation), he noted a surprising finding from his research:

“The IARP has found evidence that wearing ears (but not other accessories or fursuits) is particularly associated with depression and reduced self-esteem in furries.”

I used this interesting statistical tidbit during an [adjective][species] panel (Confuzzled 2015), as an example of a surprise hidden in the data: something you’d never expect, or think to look for. It provoked a few questions from the audience, which Nuka and I do our best to answer here.

Continue reading Wearing ears may be associated with depression

Furry Research: This Is Why You’re Single

The International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP) have just published their report from their annual Anthrocon visit. You can see the full dataset and read Nuka’s write-up here.

It’s a real grab bag of information this year. The IARP have been around for nigh on ten years, and they have learned a lot about furry and furries. They have been able to build on that knowledge to explore some areas of the furry experience in detail, and this year’s Anthrocon study reflects that. They have looked at PCD (is it real?), the relationship between artists and furry consumers, therians, and other topics.

They have also looked at furry relationship status, and, yep… there are a lot of single guys out there.

Continue reading Furry Research: This Is Why You’re Single

In Defence of Cub Porn

This article was originally published in June 2012.

There is a lot of cub porn out there.

Discussions around the topic tend to be highjacked by those making the biggest noise, either pro or con. Extreme viewpoints tend to attract extreme reactions, which produces a familiar deathspiral of invective. Such conversations tend to shed a lot of heat and precious little light.

In furry, such drama tends to appear whenever unusual sexual practices or identities are discussed – zoophilia or coprophilia for example. I speculated in a recent article that the haters are often closeted versions of the object of their hate. I think this might also apply to someone who is anti-cub porn, however it’s a more complex issue from a moral, legal, and ethical perspective.

There is certainly a disconnect between the prevalence of cub porn and the level of conversation. On sites where it is allowed (and even sometimes when it is not), it’s ubiquitous. A full 4.4% (out of 650,000) of posts on e621.net* are tagged “cub”. Yet attraction to underage characters is discussed as if it existed in the extreme margins of furry.

* As of July 2015.

The prevalence of cub porn suggests that a significant minority of furries are paedophiles. Or, to use a less inflammatory phrase, many furries are sexually attracted to underage characters.

Continue reading In Defence of Cub Porn

Furry Research: Minorities within a Minority

The International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP), a group of psychologists and sociologists who have been working with and around the furry community for many years, have just published their latest set of data online. The results are from data gathered at Furry Fiesta, which the IARP visit annually. Their Furry Fiesta research gets better and better each year.

The Furry Fiesta studies have become a testing ground for new ideas for the IARP, and always bring up some fascinating insights, as well as some crowd-pleasing frivolity. This year’s Furry Fiesta report is titled Minorities Within a Minority, Face Recognition, and Furry Pornography and it’s well worth reading the whole thing.

There is too much of interest to focus on a single element in my review, the same problem I have had for [adjective][species] in the past, such as when I wrote about their focus group on the experiences of women at furry conventions last year. So I’m going to pick out some nuggets, focussing on those that relate back to topics of discussion here at [a][s] in the past. There is a lot more in the IARP report itself (including a section where they exposed non-furries to furry pornography).

Continue reading Furry Research: Minorities within a Minority

Furries and Erotic Target Identity Inversion

In a recent article for [adjective][species], I wrote about a 2009 paper that presented an origin theory, of sorts, for furry. The author, Dr Anne Lawrence, proposes that furries (she uses the term “furverts”) are all plushophiles, that fursuiting (“fursuitism”) is a fetish activity, and that furry identity is an attempt to turn ourselves into the object of our supposed desire. We are, she concludes, autoplushophiles.

To put it simply, the paper is balls. I won’t rehash any of the reasons here, except to note that it is possibly the first peer-reviewed scientific paper in history to cite an episode of Entourage.

Yet Dr Lawrence’s paper uses an interesting approach. We here at [adjective][species] are interested in exploring furry, and while Dr Lawrence is factually wrong, the general idea—erotic target identity inversion, or ETII—is one that can provide useful guidance to the big question: why are we furries?

Continue reading Furries and Erotic Target Identity Inversion

Furry Research: Autoplushophilia and Erotic Target Location Error

“Erotic target location error” (or ETLE) is a theory that describes how fetishes might develop. It was first mooted in the early 1990s, but has been largely ignored by psychologists and sexologists since then. In 2009 it was revisited, and possibly reinvigorated, by Dr Anne Lawrence for a paper in the Journal of Sex Research titled Erotic Target Location Errors: An Underappreciated Paraphilic Dimension.

The ETLE theory is simple enough. It suggests that people who experience normal sexual attraction sometimes associate peripheral objects with that attraction, creating a fetish towards that new object. So a foot fetishist might originally have been attracted to, say, women, but they have experienced “location error”, making feet their preferred erotic target.

Dr Lawrence proposes that furries are an “uncomplicated” version of ETLE. Furries, she says, are sexually attracted to stuffed animals, and that fursuiting (or as she calls it, fursuitism) is an attempt to transform into an erotic ideal, i.e. a stuffed animal. Furries are therefore autoplushophiles.

Continue reading Furry Research: Autoplushophilia and Erotic Target Location Error

Why Furries Choose Their Species

How and why do furries choose their species?

Species choice is a question that interests us at [adjective][species] a great deal, and we know it interests the wider furry community. It is a choice that is at the core of the furry identity, one of the key building blocks toward the way we present ourselves within the furry community.

We have a wealth of data on species and character selection, thanks to many years of the Furry Survey and the work of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP). We are able to correlate species choice with hundreds of different variables… yet we have been able to identify little tangible that drives a furry towards choosing, say, a wolf rather than, say, a horse.

I had a chat with Dr Courtney Plante (aka Nuka)—IARP researcher, furry, and [adjective][species] contributor—to explore what we have learned, and discuss why it’s such a difficult question in the first place.

Continue reading Why Furries Choose Their Species

Furry Research: Furry and Fandom

The boffins over at the International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP) have just released a summary of some new research on fandoms.

This is the first tranche of results following a Canadian government grant to research and compare fandom groups. The intent of the work is to explore similarities and differences between fandoms, with the aim to understand underlying relationships: in effect, what makes different fandom groups tick.

It’s difficult to draw definitive conclusions from survey results geared towards general fact-finding rather than specific analysis. However there is good evidence that shows that the furry experience is different from that experienced by other fandom groups. We are different—furry is arguably not a fandom at all—and the data illustrates that.

Continue reading Furry Research: Furry and Fandom

Trade-Offs in Furry Research: [adjective][species] vs. The IARP

Guest post by Courtney “Nuka” Plante, PhD social psychology student at the University of Waterloo, furry, and co-founder of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project.

To paraphrase Lao Tzu: “There are many paths to enlightenment.” This statement is just as true of science as it is of philosophy or spiritual fulfillment. In science, knowledge is seldom gained through one perfectly-designed study that single-handedly topples all preexisting theories. Rather, the progress of science involves the convergence of dozens or hundreds of studies by numerous scientists, all with different approaches to the the topic at hand.

The reason science progresses this way becomes apparent as you delve into the empirical literature. Search as you might through the annals of scientific history, you will never find a perfectly-designed study. Every study has its confounding variables, alternative explanations, limitations in generalizability, problematic variable operationalizations; the list goes on and on.

Continue reading Trade-Offs in Furry Research: [adjective][species] vs. The IARP