The dogs realize their own lack of understanding

The dogs realize their own lack of understanding

Scientists have found that dogs can realize that you are in a situation for which they lack information. Biologists believed that such metacognitive abilities unique to primates.


The results published in the journal Learning & Behavior.

In the new work, the scientists decided to investigate metacognitive abilities of dogs, that is, whether they are aware of their knowledge. In the experiment, the authors were placed in one of the two screens with a narrow slit of a reward — food or a toy. In some cases, the test dog saw where the man puts the object, but not others. Scientists determined the probability of a dog’s first look in the slot before making a choice. Man and the chimpanzee usually use this opportunity, that is, you know that knowledge about a situation they don’t have enough.

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Some researchers believe that this behavior in dogs are the result of instincts, and on metacognitive processes says nothing. The idea of the experiment with hidden values was similar to the “passport effect”, described for humans and great apes. He is that valuable item we are looking more carefully than minor. If the dogs will like different probability to peek, depending on the value of an item, it will refute the idea of instinctive behavior.

The result was that if the dogs did not know where the item is, the much more look into the gap. It also appeared that they are more likely to peek if looking for a toy. However, such validation is not always increased success. In the first version of the task where the hidden food or a toy, the spying allowed the dogs often choose the right option. However, in the second embodiment, where the hidden foods of different values, the spying did not help the dog to choose the best option. The authors believe that this may be due to excessive excitability of dogs and a desire to find the reward. In General, the authors come to the conclusion that dogs are to some extent adjust their behavior for a specific task, but inferior to the primates.