Friday, November 30, 2007

Canine Cognition

Dogs can classify photos into categories like humans can. Researchers from the University of Vienna in Austria have shown that dogs can classify complex color photos. The dogs were tested using a touch screen computer method, eliminating the human influence that is normally a confounding variable. In the training experiment done by Friederike Range and his colleagues, the dogs were shown a landscape and a dog photograph. If the dog chose the dog picture it was rewarded with a food pellet. In the first test the dog was shown a picture of a completely different dog and a landscape picture. In the second test, the dog was shown a new dog picture pasted on to a landscape and then shown a completely different landscape picture. Time and again the dog chose the dog picture showing that they can truly tell it was a dog. “Using touch-screen computers with dogs opens up a whole world of possibilities on how to test the cognitive abilities of dogs by basically completely controlling any influence from the owner to the experimenter.” says Range. The methods used allows researchers to compare cognitive abilities of different species using just one method. The cognitive understanding of other species is key to understanding our own cognition.

Springer (2007, November 29). Dogs Can Classify Complex Photos In Categories Like Humans Do. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November

Posted by Antonio Hernandez (10)


At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this interesting blog. The results of this study are not surprising to me because we already what intelligent animals dogs are. The use of touch screens to test cognitive abilities opens up new doors for other animals as well. Nice work!

posted by:
Caitlin Sanders

At 11:05 AM, Blogger PWH said...

This experiment is similar to many others. When I read your article it reminded me of the experiment talked about in class, where a bird was placed on a perch in front of a screen and was asked to press a lever if it identified a moth on a tree. This experiment was used to test the affectiveness of aposematic coloration.

Posted by Vanessa Raphael (10)


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