Dogs ability to discriminate brightness is about half as good as that of humans, according to a study appearing in Volume 4, Issue 3 in the Journal of Vision. In research conducted by scientists from the Veterinary University of Vienna and the University of Memphis, dogs showed a surprising lack of ability to discriminate between grey cards that varied in brightness, says researcher Ulrike Griebel of the University of Memphis.
While a great deal is known about dogs visual acuity and the cellular components of their eyes, there is a paucity of information about their ability to discriminate brightness, says Griebel. Furthermore, she notes that there is relatively little information on how well other animals discriminate brightness.
The researchers tested three police dogs--two Belgian shepherds and a German shepherd. The dogs faced a series of pairs of grey squares, which differed in brightness. The task required the dog to determine how much the one square differed in brightness from the other. The correct choice was rewarded with a food treat. The dogs needed a far greater difference in brightness (known as the Weber fraction) than do humans to discriminate between two squares.
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