1 Tahrcountry Musings: New Study demonstrates that Dogs have Clear Mental Representations

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Study demonstrates that Dogs have Clear Mental Representations

Here is another small post in between my spare time during the break.

I read this very interesting paper about the cognitive ability of dogs to tell another canine's size simply by listening to its growl.

The dogs can match this representation with other features provided by the visual modality. Dogs' growl is context specific and contains information about the caller's body size. A listening dog can find out exactly the other dog's size.

The fascinating piece of research was done by Tamás Faragó, Péter Pongrácz, Ádám Miklósi from the Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary and Ludwig Huber, Zsófia Virányi, Friederike Range from the Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria and Clever Dog Lab, Vienna, Austria.

In conclusion the researchers say “we have shown for the first time that dogs can match cross-modal information between pictures and sounds and we provided evidence that dogs can assess accurately the size of a growling dog based on the acoustic information. Moreover, our results suggest that dogs are able to perceive species specific information based on pictures.
Dogs' Expectation about Signalers' Body Size by Virtue of Their Growls
Tamás Faragó, Péter Pongrácz, Ádám Miklósi, Ludwig Huber, Zsófia Virányi, Friederike Range.
PLoS journal

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