September 05, 2009

Dogs are like babies

A few months ago I noted the peculiarities of domestic dog cognition, especially their likely psychological adaptations which make them an optimal pet. Now, new research, Dogs and babies prone to same classic mistake:

These results suggest that dogs and infant share a social mindset where certain cues prepare them to learn from humans. It’s not the case that the gestures and facial signs were just distracting for that would lead the animals or infants to search both hiding places equally – instead, they both preferred the one that the object was initially hidden behind.

As they say, “read the whole thing,” but the take-home point is that dogs and babies are easily distracted by experimenters because experimenters are people, and people are fascinating. The same was not true with wolves, who were not distracted by humans.

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