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Selected Publication:

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

Year: 2017

Authors: Catala, A; Mang, B; Wallis, L; Huber, L

Title: Dogs demonstrate perspective taking based on geometrical gaze following in a Guesser-Knower task.

Source: Anim Cogn. 2017; 20(4):581-589



Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Catala Amelie
Huber Ludwig
Mang Britta
Wallis Lisa

Vetmed Research Units
Messerli Research Institute, Comparative Cognition


Project(s): The evolutionary and neuro-cognitive basis of the link between imitation, emphaty and prosocial behaviour in dogs and humans


Abstract:
Currently, there is still no consensus about whether animals can ascribe mental states (Theory of Mind) to themselves and others. Showing animals can respond to cues that indicate whether another has visual access to a target or not, and that they are able to use this information as a basis for whom to rely on as an informant, is an important step forward in this direction. Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) with human informants are an ideal model, because they show high sensitivity towards human eye contact, they have proven able to assess the attentional state of humans in food-stealing or food-begging contexts, and they follow human gaze behind a barrier when searching for food. With 16 dogs, we not only replicated the main results of Maginnity and Grace (Anim Cogn 17(6):1375-1392, 2014) who recently found that dogs preferred to follow the pointing of a human who witnessed a food hiding event over a human who did not (the Guesser-Knower task), but also extended this finding with a further, critical control for behaviour-reading: two informants showed identical looking behaviour, but due to their different position in the room, only one had the opportunity to see where the food was hidden by a third person. Preference for the Knower in this critical test provides solid evidence for geometrical gaze following and perspective taking in dogs.

Keywords Pubmed: Animals
Attention
Cognition
Cues
Dogs
Food
Humans

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