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Selected Publication:

Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Full Paper

Year: 2019

Author(s): Dale, R; Despraz, MN; Marshall-Pescini, S; Range, F

Title: Piloting a new prosociality paradigm in dogs and wolves: The location choice task.

Source: Behav Processes. 2019; 162:79-85



Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Dale Rachel
Marshall Sarah
Range Friederike

Vetmed Research Units
Messerli Research Institute, Comparative Cognition
Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology


Project(s): Understanding the proximate mechanisms of canine cooperation


Abstract:
The aim of this pilot study was to investigate whether or not dogs (Canis familiaris) and wolves (Canis lupus) show prosociality in a simple T-maze experiment based on a previous study by Hernandez-Lallement et al. (2015). Prosociality, i.e. "voluntary behaviour that benefits others", was initially thought to be uniquely human and, to trace its origin, has mainly been investigated in non-human primates. More recently however, some non-primate species showed considerable amounts of prosociality, suggesting convergent evolutionary paths. Here we tested if wolves and dogs are prosocial in a novel paradigm and, secondly, whether prosociality in dogs is a by-product of domestication or an ancestral trait shared with wolves. With the exception of one wolf, the current task did not reveal a prosocial response in either species, despite the same subjects showing prosocial tendencies in other tasks. Prosociality has been difficult to experimentally observe and it presents a methodological challenge. We are still at the beginning of this journey in Canids and this study adds another piece to the puzzle of how best to investigate this behaviour.


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