The study of inequity aversion in animals debuted with a report of the behaviour in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). This report generated many debates following a number of criticisms. Ultimately, however, the finding stimulated widespread interest, and multiple studies have since attempted to demonstrate inequity aversion in various other non-human animal species, with many positive results in addition to many studies in which no response to inequity was found. Domestic dogs represent an interesting case as, unlike many primates, they do not respond negatively to inequity in reward quality but do, however, respond negatively to being unrewarded in the presence of a rewarded partner. Numerous studies have been published on inequity aversion in dogs in recent years. Combining three tasks and seven peer-reviewed publications, over 140 individual dogs have been tested in inequity experiments. Consequently, dogs are one of the best studied species in this field and could offer insights into inequity aversion in other non-human animal species. In this review, we summarise and critically evaluate the current evidence for inequity aversion in dogs. Additionally, we provide a comprehensive discussion of two understudied aspects of inequity aversion, the underlying mechanisms and the ultimate function, drawing on the latest findings on these topics in dogs while also placing these developments in the context of what is known, or thought to be the case, in other non-human animal species. Finally, we highlight gaps in our understanding of inequity aversion in dogs and thereby identify potential avenues for future research in this area.
Animals Dogspsychology Reward Social Behavior Socioeconomic Factors