But does she really? Can dogs understand deception?
Mark Petter, a Dalhousie *University PhD student in clinical psychology, wanted to find out whether dogs could recognize if humans had the intention of deceiving them. Research he conducted as an undergraduate student at the University of Western Ontario has just been published in the October issue of Behavioural Processes, a journal dedicated to high-quality original research on animal behaviour.
The results showed that dogs didn’t differentiate between the human “cooperators” or “deceivers” to a remarkable degree.
“We thought they’d be better at it because dogs seem to be so sensitive to social cues from humans,” says Mr. Petter, a dog lover all his life. Through the interview, his dog Duenna lies at his feet and perks up at the mention of her name. “But there’s no evidence dogs can understand the intentions of a deceiver, nothing that told us the dogs thought, ‘hey this person is deceiving me, I shouldn’t listen to them.’”
In the experiments, dogs were allowed to choose between two containers, one of which contained a food reward. A cooperative human tester stood behind and pointed to the baited container on half the trials, and a deceptive human tester pointed to the empty container on the other half of the trials. While the dogs approached the cooperator more often than the deceiver, the difference was not significant enough to indicate an understanding of the intentions of the deceiver. “They had a lot of time to learn what was going on, but they never really picked up on it,” says Mr. Petter.
In comparison, studies done with apes revealed the apes could differentiate between cooperators and deceivers: “Most apes learned to never approach the person who was lying to them, and even learned to deceive the humans.”
For centuries, dogs have been valued by their humans for their trusting, loyal natures, which may explain why they’re so lousy at figuring out when someone’s trying to trick them. But Mr. Petter says the experiments didn’t differentiate between breeds and it’s possible that some breeds would fare better at the experiments than others.
Since coming to Dalhousie to do graduate work in chronic disease a few years ago, the Ontario native figured his research with dogs was behind him. But maybe he was deceiving himself?
He’s now researching whether owning a dog helps people recover and maintain their health after undergoing a life-changing experience, such as heart surgery.
“Do dog owners exercise more? Are they able to maintain higher physical activity levels over the course of the year?” asks Mr. Petter, 27. “Something tells me if you’ve got a dog at the door with its leash in its mouth, that that may have an affect on whether you go for a walk.”
Charles Crosby | Newswise Science News
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences