Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dogs and Cognition

Moving to a different topic. Dogs and cognition. Intelligence has always been a difficult area of research when it comes to animals. Besides animals like a chimp and a parrot who have speaking capabilities, others in the animal realm have to find other ways to show their cognitive abilities. Researchers at the University of Vienna have been looking at the cognitive abilities in dogs. Their most recent study looked at how well dogs could categorize pictures and transfer them to new situations. The dogs were shown photographs of landscapes and dogs on a computer screen. When they nose-touched the dog, they received a reward. They did this with new photos as well. The dogs aced the tests. The researchers also placed photos of dogs within the landscape and again the dogs accurately chose the dog. The conclusion to the study is that the dogs formed a concept of "dog."

I think this is really cool. I've always thought dogs recognize dogs and their own breed. This is just more validation in that. Some may remember that this group of researchers the University of Vienna also had a study on dogs and imitation back in the summer. It's another fascinating study.

It's pretty amazing what these four-legged creatures can do. Everyday, we learn something new.

No comments: