Event Title

Domestic Dogs Prefer Prosocial to Antisocial Humans

Faculty Advisor

Ellen Furlong

Graduation Year

2018

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

21-4-2018 9:00 AM

End Date

21-4-2018 10:00 AM

Description

Domestic dogs possess high aptitude for following social cues from humans, performing similarly to human infants and toddlers at understanding gestures, intentionality, and affective states, as well as other displays of social intelligence. The present study seeks to determine whether dogs, like human infants, show a preference towards actors engaging in prosocial behavior compared to those engaging in antisocial behavior. Fifty-four dogs watched as a human actor attempted to retrieve a clipboard that was out of his reach. Two additional experimenters performed one of three actions: handing the clipboard to the first experimenter (the helper), moving the clipboard farther away from the first experimenter (the hinderer), or not interacting with the clipboard in any capacity (the neutral actor). After this series of social interactions, both experimenters offered the dog a treat. We measured which experimenter the dogs first approached and accepted a treat from. Dogs preferred prosocial humans (the helper) compared to antisocial humans (the hinderer). This result suggests that preferences towards prosocial individuals may represent a component of social evolution which shaped both human and nonhuman social cognition.

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Apr 21st, 9:00 AM Apr 21st, 10:00 AM

Domestic Dogs Prefer Prosocial to Antisocial Humans

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Domestic dogs possess high aptitude for following social cues from humans, performing similarly to human infants and toddlers at understanding gestures, intentionality, and affective states, as well as other displays of social intelligence. The present study seeks to determine whether dogs, like human infants, show a preference towards actors engaging in prosocial behavior compared to those engaging in antisocial behavior. Fifty-four dogs watched as a human actor attempted to retrieve a clipboard that was out of his reach. Two additional experimenters performed one of three actions: handing the clipboard to the first experimenter (the helper), moving the clipboard farther away from the first experimenter (the hinderer), or not interacting with the clipboard in any capacity (the neutral actor). After this series of social interactions, both experimenters offered the dog a treat. We measured which experimenter the dogs first approached and accepted a treat from. Dogs preferred prosocial humans (the helper) compared to antisocial humans (the hinderer). This result suggests that preferences towards prosocial individuals may represent a component of social evolution which shaped both human and nonhuman social cognition.