The wolf is not as focused on humans as the dog, which can better interpret communication signals.
Reading Dogs and babies always look for a hidden object in the same place, once they have been taught this? even if the object was hidden somewhere else in front of their eyes. Wolves were not easily deceived in the same experiments and usually searched for the object where it was actually hidden, scientists have discovered in behavioral experiments. According to the Hungarian researchers, these results reflect the high level of social competence of dogs and humans, which may even have developed the two species in parallel. Researchers conducted experiments with 10-month-old infants, dogs, and human-raised wolves. One person repeatedly hid a rubber ball behind one of two cloths, accompanied by signals such as eye contact, gestures, facial expressions and shouts. Dogs, babies and wolves then searched the rubber ball behind the right cloth. Later in the experiment, however, the person hid the ball behind the second cloth. The dogs and the babies attached more importance to the previously learned and therefore continued to search for the first cloth.

However, dogs rarely made the mistake when the rubber ball had been hidden casually and without the communication signals the first time. In both cases, the wolves searched where the object was actually hidden in front of their eyes? no matter where he had been deposited before. Then the researchers exchanged the person after hiding the item. Another person then deposited the article under the second cloth. Now the dogs were looking for the right place. The babies continued to search behind the first cloth.

What seems to speak against the intelligence of human children is testimony to their high willingness to learn in a social context, explain the scientists. This refers to the ability of babies to remember things that are conveyed by a person who simultaneously transmits nonverbal signals such as eye contact, interpreting or nodding. The babies can also transfer learned content to other situations. With them, the hiding of the ball was not tied to a single person as with the dogs, for which the exchanged scientist was change enough to forget the previously learned. After all, the wolves were not distracted from the people at all: they simply searched where they suspected the object and re-evaluated each situation.

According to the scientists, the behavior of the dogs indicates a new ability of their kind, which they have taken over from humans since their domestication. Like babies, they can establish a connection between clear communication signals and a learning content. Presumably, however, other cognitive processes would take place in dogs and humans, because the dogs did not succeed in transferring one content into similar situations, which is probably the purpose of learning for babies. display

Barbara Bramanti (University of Mainz) et al .: Science (online pre-publication, doi: 10.1126 / science.1176869). - Martina Bisculm


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