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Comparing pet and detection dogs (Canis familiaris) on two aspects of social cognition.

Authors
  • Lazarowski, Lucia1
  • Thompkins, Andie2
  • Krichbaum, Sarah3, 2
  • Waggoner, L Paul3
  • Deshpande, Gopikrishna2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Katz, Jeffrey S2, 4, 5, 6
  • 1 Canine Performance Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, 104 Greene Hall, Auburn, AL, 26849, USA. [email protected]
  • 2 Department of Psychological Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA.
  • 3 Canine Performance Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, 104 Greene Hall, Auburn, AL, 26849, USA.
  • 4 Auburn University MRI Research Center, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA.
  • 5 Alabama Advanced Imaging Consortium, Birmingham, AL, USA.
  • 6 Center for Neuroscience, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA.
  • 7 School of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China. , (China)
  • 8 Key Laboratory for Learning and Cognition, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China. , (China)
  • 9 Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India. , (India)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Learning & behavior
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2020
Volume
48
Issue
4
Pages
432–443
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3758/s13420-020-00431-8
PMID: 32607965
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Interspecific communication between dogs and humans enables dogs to occupy significant roles in human society, both in companion and working roles. Dogs excel at using human communicative signals in problem-solving tasks, and solicit human contact when unable to solve a problem. Dogs' sociocognitive behavior likely results from a selection for attention to humans during domestication, but is highly susceptible to environmental factors. Training for particular tasks appears to enhance dog-human communication, but effects may depend on the nature of the relationship determined by their role. Our aim was to examine two types of social cognition (responsiveness to human gestures, and human-directed communicative behavior in an unsolvable task) in pet dogs (n = 29) and detection dogs (n = 35). The groups did not differ in their ability to follow human signals, but pets were less responsive to signals given by a stranger than by their owner. Pets also exhibited more human-directed gazing in the unsolvable task, showing a bias for gazing at their owner compared with the stranger, whereas detection dogs showed greater persistence in attempting to solve the task compared with pets. Thus, different aspects of dogs' sociocognitive behavior may differentially vary as a function of selection or training for particular roles.

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