Event Title

This or that?: Object individuation in domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris)

Faculty Advisor

Ellen Furlong

Graduation Year

2019

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

13-4-2019 2:00 PM

End Date

13-4-2019 3:00 PM

Description

Humans rely on organizing and categorizing our world to function in our everyday lives. This ability to categorize rests on object individuation, the ability to track the identity of objects when they leave and reenter sight. Objects can be individuated using three types of information: spatiotemporal, object property and object kind. Previous research has shown that a surprising candidate mechanism may affect infants’ use of object kind information: noun comprehension (Xu 1999; Xu 2002). Research using a comparative approach suggests that the ability to use kind information to aid in object individuation may not be unique to humans: great apes, rhesus monkeys and dogs all successfully individuate objects using spatiotemporal and property/kind information (Brauer & Call 2011; Phillips & Santos 2005; Uller 1997). However, little is known about non-linguistic animals ability to individuate objects using kind information alone. Here we explore the effect of a language cue on dogs’ ability to use kind information for object individuation. We predict that dogs will be able to use a language cue to successfully individuate objects using kind information. Thus, non-linguistic animals may be able to use kind information to aid in object individuation given appropriate supports.

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Apr 13th, 2:00 PM Apr 13th, 3:00 PM

This or that?: Object individuation in domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris)

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Humans rely on organizing and categorizing our world to function in our everyday lives. This ability to categorize rests on object individuation, the ability to track the identity of objects when they leave and reenter sight. Objects can be individuated using three types of information: spatiotemporal, object property and object kind. Previous research has shown that a surprising candidate mechanism may affect infants’ use of object kind information: noun comprehension (Xu 1999; Xu 2002). Research using a comparative approach suggests that the ability to use kind information to aid in object individuation may not be unique to humans: great apes, rhesus monkeys and dogs all successfully individuate objects using spatiotemporal and property/kind information (Brauer & Call 2011; Phillips & Santos 2005; Uller 1997). However, little is known about non-linguistic animals ability to individuate objects using kind information alone. Here we explore the effect of a language cue on dogs’ ability to use kind information for object individuation. We predict that dogs will be able to use a language cue to successfully individuate objects using kind information. Thus, non-linguistic animals may be able to use kind information to aid in object individuation given appropriate supports.