A sense of morality, or values predisposing what is right (fair, just, kind) and what is wrong (unfair, cruel, dishonest), appears universally across all humankind. All major cultures share support for some values, such as self-respect, respect for others, and 'the golden rule'treat others how you wish to be treated-and disdain for some sins, such as murder, theft and dishonesty (Kinnier, Kernes & Dautheribes, 2000). Some moral behaviors, such as inequity aversion, the tendency to do no hann and cooperation are found to exist in virtually all human adults. But where does morality come from? Is it uniquely human or do we share some moral values with nonhuman animals? To explore these questions domestic dogs-nonhumans with exceptional social cognitive skills-were tested for moral values through a replication of a study on moral reasoning in human infants (Hamlin & Wynn, 2011). Dogs watched a puppet show with a moral and immoral actor-the moral actor helped a neutral character achieve a goal and the immoral actor prevented the actor from achieving the goal. Dogs generally looked longer when the neutral puppet chose to associate with the moral helper than the immoral hinderer, demonstrating that dogs, like human infants, may prefer when agents associate with moral helpers. Though this is a preliminary study it suggests that a sense of morality may not be uniquely human and may be an evolved trait shared by humans and nonhumans alike.
Ford, Katherine E., "Domestic Dogs ' (Canis lupus familiaris) Evaluation of Moral and Immoral Actors" (2015). Honors Projects. 172.