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Several studies suggest that dogs as well as primates utilise a mental representation of the signaller after hearing its vocalization, and can match this ... more »
Several studies suggest that dogs as well as primates utilise a mental representation of the signaller after hearing its vocalization, and can match this representation with other features provided by the visual modality. Recently it was found that a dogs’ growl is context specific, and contains information about the caller’s body size. Whether dogs can use the encoded information is as yet unclear. In this experiment, we tested whether dogs can assess the size of another dog if they hear an agonistic growl paired with simultaneous video projection of two dog pictures. One of them matched the size of the growling dog, while the other one was either 30% larger or smaller. In control groups, noise, cat pictures or projections of geometric shapes (triangles) were used. The results showed that dogs look sooner and longer at the dog picture matching the size of the caller. No such preference was found with any of the control stimuli, suggesting that dogs have a mental representation of the caller when hearing its vocalization. « less
uploaded by Tamás Faragó
10:11
The transmission of cultural knowledge requires learners to identify what relevant information to retain and selectively imitate when observing others' ... more »
The transmission of cultural knowledge requires learners to identify what relevant information to retain and selectively imitate when observing others' skills. Young human infants-without relying on language or theory of mind-already show evidence of this ability. If, for example, in a communicative context, a model demonstrates a head action instead of a more efficient hand action, infants imitate the head action only if the demonstrator had no good reason to do so, suggesting that their imitation is a selective, interpretative process. Early sensitivity to ostensive-communicative cues and to the efficiency of goal-directed actions is thought to be a crucial prerequisite for such relevance-guided selective imitation. Although this competence is thought to be human specific, here we show an analog capacity in the dog. In our experiment, subjects watched a demonstrator dog pulling a rod with the paw instead of the preferred mouth action. In the first group, using the ''inefficient'' action was justified by the model's carrying of a ball in her mouth, whereas in the second group, no constraints could explain the demonstrator's choice. In the first trial after observation, dogs imitated the nonpreferred action only in the second group. Consequently, dogs, like children, demonstrated inferential selective imitation. « less
uploaded by Zsófia Virányi
2:16
We aimed to measure dogs’ social interactions with humans in an indoor test (Social Interaction Test, SIT) simulating everyday situations in a laboratory of ... more »
We aimed to measure dogs’ social interactions with humans in an indoor test (Social Interaction Test, SIT) simulating everyday situations in a laboratory of our department. We supposed that dogs with different personality profiles show different behaviours in the SIT. In this phase called Proximity seeker 4., the owner manipulates objects in a given order. He/she has to pick up seven numbered objects (1: pen, 2: nylon bag, 3: candle, 4: magazine, 5: wooden cube, 6: pot, 7: a glove) one by one and carry to a predetermined point. When finished, the owner puts all seven objects into the drawers and sits back on the chair. The observed behaviours of the dog are the following: proximity to owner, exploration, following the owner's path. (See the definitions in the video.) « less
uploaded by Barbara Gáspár
1:22
Differences between sexes in cognitive processes are widespread in humans and permeate many, if not most, cognitive domains. In animal cognition research, ... more »
Differences between sexes in cognitive processes are widespread in humans and permeate many, if not most, cognitive domains. In animal cognition research, however, possible sex differences are still often neglected. Here we provide striking evidence for a sex-specific response in an object permanence task in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Female dogs responded with significantly increased looking times to a violation of expectancy - a ball 'magically' changing size while temporarily occluded. In contrast, male dogs, irrespective of their neuter status, did not respond to the size constancy violation. These results indicate that sex differences in basic cognitive processes may extend to mammals in general, and call for increased consideration of possible sex effects when analyzing and interpreting data in animal cognition. Published in: Muller, Mayer, Dorrenberg, Huber & Range (2011): Female but not male dogs respond to a size constancy violation. Biology Letters. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0287 « less
uploaded by Corsin Müller
1:14
Numerous recent studies have investigated how animals solve means-end tasks and unravelled considerable variation in strategies used by different species. ... more »
Numerous recent studies have investigated how animals solve means-end tasks and unravelled considerable variation in strategies used by different species. Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) have typically performed comparably poorly in physical cognition tasks, but a recent study showed that they can solve the on-off condition of the support problem, where they are confronted with two boards, one with a reward placed on it and the other with a reward placed next to it. To explore which strategies dogs use to solve this task, we first tested 37 dogs with the on-off condition tested previously and then tested subjects that passed this condition with three transfer tasks. For the contact condition, the inaccessible reward was touching the second board. For the perceptual containment condition, the inaccessible reward was surrounded on three sides by the second board, but not supported by it, whereas for the gap condition, discontinuous boards were used. Unlike in the previous study, our subjects did not perform above chance level in the initial trials of the on-off condition, but 13 subjects learned to solve it. Their performance in the transfer tasks suggests that dogs can learn to solve the support problem based on perceptual cues, that they can quickly adopt new cues when old ones become unreliable, but also that some apparently inherent preferences are hard to overcome. Our study contributes to accumulating evidence demonstrating that animals typically rely on a variety of perceptual cues to solve physical cognition tasks, without developing an understanding of the underlying causal structure. « less
uploaded by Corsin Müller
3:13
We have constructed a questionnaire to investigate the separation behavior in a sample of family dogs (Canis familiaris) (N = 45) and in parallel we have ... more »
We have constructed a questionnaire to investigate the separation behavior in a sample of family dogs (Canis familiaris) (N = 45) and in parallel we have observed dogs’ separationrelated behavior in a simple behavioral test (Separation and greeting test, S&G). We recorded the dogs’ behavior during the separation from and reunion (greeting) with the owner. We investigated whether owners’ report about their dogs’ separation behavior reflected the separation behavior under controlled testing conditions. Furthermore, we wanted to find out whether the duration of separation affected the behavior of dogs and whether there was some relationship between separation and greeting behavior. Dogs that were rated by their owner to be more “anxious” during separation and “happier” at reunion, showed more activity and stress-related behavior during separation, and more affection toward the owner during greeting. Dogs with owner-reported separation-related disorder (SRD) showed more stress-related behavior, they spent less time near the owner’s chair during separation, and were more active during greeting than dogs without SRD. The two groups of dogs did not differ in affectionate behavior shown toward the owner. Nonaffected dogs’ activity decreased with increasing separation duration, but dogs with SRD did not show this change in their separation behavior. Our results show that owners’ have a realistic view on their dogs’ separation behavior. In addition, dogs with SRD may not be “hyper-attached” to their owners because they do not show more affection during greeting. Moreover, dogs with SRD do not show preference for the owners’ objects left behind and they cannot be easily calmed by the returning owner. Our questionnaire and the Separation and greeting test could be used for screening dogs with suspected separation-related behavior problems. « less
uploaded by Vera Konok