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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2020

Authors: Völter, CJ; Völter, CJ; Karl, S; Karl, S; Huber, L; Huber, L

Title: Dogs accurately track a moving object on a screen and anticipate its destination.

Source: Sci Rep. 2020; 10(1):19832

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Huber Ludwig
Karl Sabrina
Völter Christoph

Vetmed Research Units
Messerli Research Institute, Comparative Cognition

Project(s): Convergent evolution of the social brain? A comparative dog-human fMRI approach

The prediction of upcoming events is of importance not only to humans and non-human primates but also to other animals that live in complex environments with lurking threats or moving prey. In this study, we examined motion tracking and anticipatory looking in dogs in two eye-tracking experiments. In Experiment 1, we presented pet dogs (N = 14) with a video depicting how two players threw a Frisbee back and forth multiple times. The horizontal movement of the Frisbee explained a substantial amount of variance of the dogs' horizontal eye movements. With increasing duration of the video, the dogs looked at the catcher before the Frisbee arrived. In Experiment 2, we showed the dogs (N = 12) the same video recording. This time, however, we froze and rewound parts of the video to examine how the dogs would react to surprising events (i.e., the Frisbee hovering in midair and reversing its direction). The Frisbee again captured the dogs' attention, particularly when the video was frozen and rewound for the first time. Additionally, the dogs looked faster at the catcher when the video moved forward compared to when it was rewound. We conclude that motion tracking and anticipatory looking paradigms provide promising tools for future cognitive research with canids.

Keywords Pubmed: Animals
Anticipation, Psychologicalphysiology
Eye Movements
Motion Perceptionphysiology
Play and Playthings
Video Recording

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