Document Detail

Are dogs (Canis familiaris) misled more by their owners than by strangers in a food choice task?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20644973     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
Dogs are highly skilled in understanding a large variety of human social cues and use them appropriately to solve a number of different cognitive tasks. They rely on human signals even when these are contradictory or misleading and ultimately prevent them from correctly solving a task. In the following two experiments, we investigated whether the owner and a stranger differently influenced dogs' choices in food discrimination tasks. In Experiment 1, 48 dogs were tested in 3 different conditions: (1) choice between a large and a small amount of dog pellets with no demonstration; (2) choice between a large and a small amount of dog pellets after having witnessed the owner/stranger favouring the small quantity; (3) choice between two single food pellets after observing the owner/stranger choosing one of them. In Experiment 2, 48 dogs could choose between two foods of different palatability: in Condition 1, dogs chose between a slice of sausage and a dry pellet with no demonstration. In Condition 2, the same choice was available but with a person (owner/stranger) showing a preference for the dry pellet. In Condition 3, dogs chose between a single dry pellet and 8 slices of sausage, with the person (owner/stranger) showing a preference for the pellet. In both experiments, dogs conformed to the human's indications even though these led to the selection of the less advantageous option (i.e. the smaller amount of food in Experiment 1 or the low quality food in Experiment 2). However, the owner and the stranger did not differently influence the dogs' behaviour. Results show that dogs are willing to follow a person's indication even when this is visibly (if perhaps only mildly) counterproductive to them and that they are socially prepared to rely equally on cues given by the owner and an unfamiliar friendly person.
S Marshall-Pescini; E Prato-Previde; P Valsecchi
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2010-07-20
Journal Detail:
Title:  Animal cognition     Volume:  14     ISSN:  1435-9456     ISO Abbreviation:  Anim Cogn     Publication Date:  2011 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-01-03     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9814573     Medline TA:  Anim Cogn     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  137-42     Citation Subset:  IM    
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biomediche, Sezione di Psicologia, Università di Milano, Via Fratelli Cervi 93, Segrate, MI, Italy.
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