Scientists find new evidence of dog intelligence

The researchers note that other animals that display such an ability are chimpanzees, African gray parrots and horses (Getty Images)

There has long been speculation about how much or what animals can perceive in their interactions with humans.

“He is smart”, “I talk to him and he understands everything”, “He seems to understand”, Usually the phrases of those who share their lives in the company of a dog at home.

currently, as revealed Recent ResearchThere will be new scientific evidence about the intelligence of dogs.

thing is German scientists have found that dogs seem to be able to tell whether people’s actions are intentional or accidental.

When dogs interact with humans, they often show appropriate reactions to the deliberate human action.. But from these daily observations, it is not clear whether the dogs simply respond to the results of the procedure or whether they are able to distinguish between different classes of actions.” With this hypothesis in mind, the researchers set out to answer whether dogs were able to distinguish Between intentional human actions and unintentional actions, even when the results of the action are the same.

Previous research suggested that dogs could track human attention to determine when to chew food and respond to cue gestures. Also, many dogs get excited by certain cues that may indicate an upcoming action, such as when the leash is raised to go for a walk. However, experts believe it is unclear whether dogs really understand the idea of ​​human intent.

The researchers set out to answer whether dogs were able to distinguish between intentional human actions (Getty Images)
The researchers set out to answer whether dogs were able to distinguish between intentional human actions (Getty Images)

“Our findings provide important preliminary evidence that dogs may have at least one aspect of theory of mind: the ability to recognize intent in action.”The authors wrote in article Published in the magazine Scientific reports. They noted that among other animals that exhibit such an ability are chimpanzees, African gray parrots and horses.

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Scientists in Germany described how they tried to solve the problem by asking a researcher to pass candy to a dog through a hole in a screen.

During the process, the researchers tested the dog in three situations: In one, they tried to offer a treat but “accidentally” dropped it on their side of the screen and said, “Oops!” and, in another case, they tried to offer a cure treatment but the gap was closed. On a third attempt, the researcher offered the treatment, but suddenly pulled it out and said, “Ha ha!”

“The idea of ​​this experiment is that in all three cases they don’t get food for some reason.”Description of Dr. Julian Brewer, co-author of the research Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

"Dogs were clearly distinguished in their spontaneous behavior between the conditions of unwillingness and inability" (Reuters)
“Dogs clearly distinguished in their spontaneous behavior between the conditions of unwillingness and helplessness” (Reuters)

The results, based on an analysis of video recordings of 51 animals, showed that The dogs waited longer before walking around the screen to receive treatment immediately in the abrupt snack withdrawal condition than in the other two conditions. They were more likely to stop wagging their tails and sit or lie down.

The team writes that dogs They clearly show different behavior between different conditions. “This suggests that dogs do indeed distinguish between intentional actions and unintentional behavior,” they said.

Dogs clearly distinguished in their spontaneous behavior between the conditions of unwillingness and helplessness. This suggests that dogs do in fact distinguish between intentional actions and unintentional behavior.”, concluded between the results of the work.

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however, He stated that more work was needed to explore whether the dogs had previously learned not to approach the food being removed, or whether they responded to the researcher’s various exclamation marks., as posted Watchman.

While dog owners may find the result unsurprising, Dr Selene Lavell, a professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the study, said. It is far from trivial.

Accumulating evidence suggests that there are some basic abilities to attribute simple mental states to other factors in some non-human species (Getty Images)
Accumulating evidence suggests that there are some basic abilities to attribute simple mental states to other factors in some non-human species (Getty Images)

“Distinguishing between intentional and unintentional behavior within its own species brings survival advantages; being able to generalize this to other species, though it has evolved with you, It further supports the claim that dogs distinguish behaviors based on their intentions rather than some other cuesHe evaluated it.

And while Laville said it was true that the authors were cautious about how animals acquire this ability, noting that dogs less familiar with humans might not make the same distinction, he felt that Show pet ability was a ‘promising start’.

“Whether this ability is sufficient to attribute theory of mind to dogs is a more controversial question, as researchers debate what level of understanding of others’ psychological states is required to merit this label,” he said.

The concept of intention is an essential part of theory of mind, the ability to attribute mental states to others and to oneself. Theory of mind has always been considered a unique human ability. However, while this may be true for the whole theory of mind for adults that involves the attribution of complex subjective states, Accumulating evidence indicates that there are some basic abilities to attribute simple mental states to other factors in some non-human species.

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Freddie Dawson

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