Event Title

Effects Of Dogs' (Canis Lupus Familiaris) Environment On Social Cognition

Faculty Advisor

Ellen Furlong

Graduation Year

2018

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

21-4-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

21-4-2018 3:00 PM

Description

The current study explores the effects of a dog’s environment, e.g., shelter vs pet, on their social cognition. Dogs’ understanding of human social cues has been explained both by the domestication hypothesis and the human exposure hypothesis. The domestication hypothesis asserts that dogs’ understanding of human social cues, intentions, and emotions comes from their side-by-side evolution with humans. In contrast, the human exposure hypothesis suggests that dogs’ level of understanding is determined by their life experience/ontogeny with humans. Because shelter dogs have had less experience with humans, research suggests they have less social understanding of humans; on the other hand, pet dogs have had a significant amount of experience with humans and therefore may be assumed to have greater social understanding of humans. The current study takes an ontogenetic approach as it makes different predictions for each theory and there is less research in this area. Methods for the study include a self-control measure along with three social cognition measures. The self-control measure is used as a non-social control to measure for general cognitive capacity. The social cognition measures include the “Impossible Toy” test, an object-choice task, and a gaze-following task. The results of the study will help to determine which theory of dogs’ social cognition better explains dogs’ strong socio-cognitive abilities in understanding humans.

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Apr 21st, 2:00 PM Apr 21st, 3:00 PM

Effects Of Dogs' (Canis Lupus Familiaris) Environment On Social Cognition

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

The current study explores the effects of a dog’s environment, e.g., shelter vs pet, on their social cognition. Dogs’ understanding of human social cues has been explained both by the domestication hypothesis and the human exposure hypothesis. The domestication hypothesis asserts that dogs’ understanding of human social cues, intentions, and emotions comes from their side-by-side evolution with humans. In contrast, the human exposure hypothesis suggests that dogs’ level of understanding is determined by their life experience/ontogeny with humans. Because shelter dogs have had less experience with humans, research suggests they have less social understanding of humans; on the other hand, pet dogs have had a significant amount of experience with humans and therefore may be assumed to have greater social understanding of humans. The current study takes an ontogenetic approach as it makes different predictions for each theory and there is less research in this area. Methods for the study include a self-control measure along with three social cognition measures. The self-control measure is used as a non-social control to measure for general cognitive capacity. The social cognition measures include the “Impossible Toy” test, an object-choice task, and a gaze-following task. The results of the study will help to determine which theory of dogs’ social cognition better explains dogs’ strong socio-cognitive abilities in understanding humans.