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

Year: 2017

Authors: Lampe, M; Bräuer, J; Kaminski, J; Virányi, Z

Title: The effects of domestication and ontogeny on cognition in dogs and wolves.

Source: Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1):11690



Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Viranyi Zsofia

Vetmed Research Units
Messerli Research Institute, Comparative Cognition


Project(s): The semantics of talking with the eyes and gestures: The hormonal and cognitive underpinings of comprehending co-operative intentional communication in domestic dogs and wolves

Understanding the proximate mechanisms of canine cooperation

Kognition und Emotionaler Hintergrund bei Kooperation


Abstract:
Cognition is one of the most flexible tools enabling adaptation to environmental variation. Living close to humans is thought to influence social as well as physical cognition of animals throughout domestication and ontogeny. Here, we investigated to what extent physical cognition and two domains of social cognition of dogs have been affected by domestication and ontogeny. To address the effects of domestication, we compared captive wolves (n = 12) and dogs (n = 14) living in packs under the same conditions. To explore developmental effects, we compared these dogs to pet dogs (n = 12) living in human families. The animals were faced with a series of object-choice tasks, in which their response to communicative, behavioural and causal cues was tested. We observed that wolves outperformed dogs in their ability to follow causal cues, suggesting that domestication altered specific skills relating to this domain, whereas developmental effects had surprisingly no influence. All three groups performed similarly in the communicative and behavioural conditions, suggesting higher ontogenetic flexibility in the two social domains. These differences across cognitive domains need to be further investigated, by comparing domestic and non-domesticated animals living in varying conditions.


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