Imprimir Republish

best friend

Man’s best friend

TECNO cachorro adaniel buenoDogs are far more interested in people’s actions than in whatever object they may be holding. This might seem obvious to anyone who has spent enough time around dogs – who have been living in close contact with humans for the past 30,000 years –, but researchers in Italy and Austria have interpreted this result as an indication that dogs have some idea of people’s intent (PLOS ONE). The study tested the reactions of 52 dogs in two situations. In the first, they watched an unfamiliar person manipulate either a globe or a watering can. In the second, a black box was placed next to one of the two objects. The animals paid more attention when the person switched objects than when they manipulated the same object in a different location, suggesting that the action (or intent) is more important to them than the configuration of the scene. When the agent of the interaction was an inanimate object (the black box), they did not show as much interest. This result resembles the outcome of prior studies about tamarin monkeys or human infants, suggesting that the same conclusion applies to man’s best friend.