Skip to comments.Dogs Display Aspects Of Human Intelligence
Posted on 11/28/2007 7:54:46 PM PST by blam
Dogs display aspects of human intelligence
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 6:01pm GMT 28/11/2007
Dog lovers have long claimed that their pets are smarter than many of us realise.
New evidence to back that view comes from research published today which concludes that, like us, our canine friends are able to form abstract concepts.
Friederike Range and colleagues from the University of Vienna, Austria, show for the first time that dogs are able to learn how to classify complex colour photographs and place them into categories in the same way that humans do.
Training stimuli: Images of dogs and landscapes are used to test dogs' recognition of abstract concepts
"Dogs were for a long time considered to be just pets - so showing that they are able to also form abstract concepts maybe gives their cognitive abilities more credit," she said.
However, the abstract concept they were able to grasp in this pioneering experiment was rather familiar, that of "dog."
The team reports in the journal Animal Cognition a clever way to show that the dogs are not picking up subtle signals from their handlers: the dogs successfully demonstrate their learning through the use of computer touch-screens, eliminating potential human influences.
Four dogs were shown both landscape and dog photographs simultaneously and were rewarded with food if they selected the dog picture on the touch screen.
Then they were shown a new set of dog and landscape pictures. They continued to reliably select the dog photographs, demonstrating that they could transfer their knowledge gained in the training phase to a new circumstance, even though they had never seen those particular pictures before.
In a second test, the dogs were faced with a choice between a new dog pasted on a familiar landscape and a completely new landscape with no dog, In this case, they reliably selected the landscape with the dog.
"These results show that the dogs were able to form a concept, that is 'dog', although the experiment cannot tell us whether they recognized the dog pictures as actual dogs," said Dr Range.
"Using touch-screen computers with dogs opens up a whole world of possibilities on how to test the cognitive abilities of dogs."
The dogs that took part were a Border Collie (Maggie), one Border Collie mix (Lucy), one Australian Shepherd (Bertl), and one mongrel (Todor). Two dogs were male (Bertl, Todor), two were female (Maggie, Lucy).
In earlier work, the team showed striking similarities between humans and dogs in the way they imitate others, showing they do more than copy. They also interpet what they see.
The more I know about people, the more I appreciate my dog.
MY dog was mocking me
Nah, listening to your jokes.
This is difficult to accept when our dog eats poop.
Those dogs played them for suckers. Everyone knows dogs do anything for treats.
Wow, Gary Larson was right.
I've read that if your dog will eat poop...he's not being proprely fed.
Our three dogs understand everything we say. They just don’t always agree with it.
My new dog is from a shelter, a mixed breed (terrier and we think German Sheppard or maybe some kind of hound). We have had him since June and we think he is about a year old (give or take a month or two). He is sort of medium (around 55 lbs or so). Really a sweet, people person dog. He (w/o us wanting him too) has mastered our original kitchen trash can (it was cheap and plastic and had a tab you hit on the top and the lid popped up). He openned it w/his nose...So I got a new one, before Thanksgiving. An expensive metal one, called a Bullet. It has a foot pedal. Well, he’s learned to hit that w/his paw (after watching us I guess...we have only had it about two weeks). When he knows he’s ‘caught’ he turns head to the side and looks like he’s saying ‘who me?’
I hope the dog picked a flushed bowl. :^)
Yes, my dog mimics me all the time -— yesterday I caught him mounting a bitch in heat on my front lawn...at least I have the decency to invite them inside first.
Sounds like both of you (you and the dog) have had good luck in finding each other.
Just the other night, my dog showed abstract reasoning capabilities -- my son was training him to find things, and invariably the first place he went to look was to the last place he'd found stuff.
Dogs can count...Get out 3 treats and only give them 2..
Dogs are very good with inanimate representations...I figured out my lab pups were too big for me to walk tandem any more when they pulled me across a neighbors lawn to visit with the concrete Collie lawn ornament.
My big Lab swung wide and barked at the concrete lion in anothers lawn...
and she has never met a lion or a collie....
Love those pics, and those of your dogs. Wish we had a ‘dog pinger’ here on FR! Here’s one I posted a couple days ago:
“Dear God - From the Dog:”
LOL... I was gonna ping you..
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