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Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Full Paper

Year: 2015

Author(s): Quervel-Chaumette, M; Dale, R; Marshall-Pescini, S; Range, F

Title: Familiarity affects other-regarding preferences in pet dogs.

Source: Sci Rep. 2015; 5:18102



Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Dale Rachel
Marshall Sarah
Quervel-Chaumette Myléne
Range Friederike

Vetmed Research Units
Messerli Research Institute, Comparative Cognition


Project(s): Proximate Mechanisms of Canine Cooperation: Prosocial attitudes and inequity aversion


Abstract:
Other-regarding preferences are considered to be the foundation of human cooperation. However, the evolutionary origin of this behavior in humans remains poorly understood. So far, comparative studies in primates have led to mixed conclusions probably due to methodological differences relating to both task complexity and the types of control conditions used. Moreover, no clear link between phylogenetic relatedness and prosociality has been found, suggesting that other convergent selection pressures may play a role in the evolution of such behaviors. Here, using one of the cognitively less demanding tasks, we show for the first time, that dogs can behave pro-socially by donating food to a conspecific partner, but only if the partner is familiar. This highlights the importance of considering the social relationships between individuals when testing animals for other-regarding behaviors. Moreover, by including a social control condition, we show that the dogs" prosocial response was not due to a simple social facilitation effect. The current findings support recent proposals that other convergent selection pressures, such as dependence on cooperative activities, rather than genetic relatedness to humans, may shape a species" propensity for other-regarding behaviors.


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