Cognitive Psychology

German scientists find fresh evidence of canine intelligence — The Guardian


Dogs and human beings share a special bond. We are two of the few species that have co-evolved. Since dogs joined human beings around the hunter gatherer campfire 40,000+ years ago, we’ve been influencing each others evolution. Dogs and human beings are the only two species that can recognize and react to each others facial expressions. Test it out. Raise your eyebrows at a dog, they’ll react with interest. Ever heard of a hangdog look? You know exactly what that expression is, and, so does your dog.

Scientists also tell us that many dogs will look where you’re looking and where you’re point at. Dogs will also study your habits, behaviors, and movements so that they can anticipate what you’re going to do. They live to please.

Other scientists tell us that dogs really do love us. They love us like you love your child and a child loves its parents. That bond is real and strong — interestingly enough, it isn’t in cats, but that is a blog post of a different stripe.

And, now, more scientists, German scientists — those are the very best kind of scientists, you know — tell us that dogs can tell when you’re faking it and when you mean it. For real man.

Keep in mind that this is ONE study with a small sample of 51 dogs, but it the evidence is clearly suggests it is possible. It should be enough to inspire further research into determining whether dogs really can grasp human intentions.

We here at Ye Olde Blogge suspect that it will turn out like the pointing and looking research: SOME dogs do look where you are pointing or looking and SOME dogs don’t. Depends on the dog and the circumstances and how much exposure they’ve had to human beings.


German scientists find fresh evidence of canine intelligence

Dogs seem to be able to grasp notion of human intention, say researchers

Nicola Davis Science correspondent
Wednesday 1 September 2021

From a canny look to a quizzical grumble, dogs have long conveyed the impression they know more about what their owners are up to than what might be expected. Now researchers have found fresh evidence of canine savviness, revealing dogs seem to be able to tell whether human actions are deliberate or accidental.

While theory of mind – the ability to attribute thoughts to others and to recognise that can result in certain behaviours – is often thought to be uniquely human, the study suggests at least some elements may be common to canines.

“Our findings provide important initial evidence that dogs may have at least one aspect of theory of mind: the capacity to recognise intention-in-action,” the authors write, noting among other animals to show such an ability are chimpanzees, African grey parrots and horses.


Continue reading on The Guardian: German scientists find fresh evidence of canine intelligence

If you’ve enjoyed this little introduction to The Guardian’s article on dog intelligence, or you did you appreciate being pointed to an obscure article you might’ve missed, let us know by doing one or all of the following:

  • Comment: My personal favorite is getting a comment. I answer all comments usually within days if not sooner. We’ve had some great discussions in the comments, so please join us and let us know what you think of dogs and their intelligence.
  • Like: Another fan favorite! There’s a button just below that will let you me know that you’ve been here and you like what you saw.
  • Rate: Looking for something more nuanced than just a like? Then give us a star rating, located just under the headline of the post. It’s easy and it’s fun.
  • Share: Really trying to show Ye Olde Blogge some love? Then share us on social media and let your followers, friends, and fans know about us, too.
  • Join: Did you know that by joining our email list that you not only will get an email everytime we publish a post, but you’ll be on Ye Olde Blogge’s Festivus card list? Well, you will. You can air your grievances at us then.

Image Attribution

Skylla by me licensed as free to use as you will because who’s a good girl?

24 replies »

    • Howdy Bob!

      Personally, I am always humbled by every interaction with a dog.

      The more we study the cognition of other species the more we realize how much we are just an extension of them.

      Interestingly, though, other branches of Tree of Life have developed other solutions to our common problems. Certain species of birds, crows come to mind, have oddly advanced intelligence based on their brain structures. They have complex social interactions and communication. Mollusks, octopi, also have quite advanced intelligence with a very differently organized brain. Even plants have sophisticated means of communicating and interacting with their environment.

      No matter what happens to us, life will continue on the planet… unless, of course, we destroy the atmosphere and then it will just be some hibernating tardigrades awaiting better times. And, that, especially the tardigrades, gives me hope.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe the tardigrades are just waiting for the rest of us to go away? No, there is hope there. Seeing ourselves as fundamentally separate from the rest of the web of life may be the worst mistake of becoming “civilized”.

        Liked by 1 person

        • But, the separation from the web of life originated in the West. It wasn’t the way other areas of the world didn’t see it that way. I wonder what Jared Diamond — “Guns, Germs, and Steel” — might say about the role that this view played in the West’s domination of the world? How necessary was it in the “success” of the West? How deeply ingrained is the view in the globalized culture of the world?

          The role of culture in shaping worldviews and identifying what people see as problems and what the possible solutions are for them.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think that part of the role it played was, at least on some places, based in the inability of other cultures to fully believe that anybody could actually see the world that way. An example was the general inability of Native Americans, and many other indigenous people, to believe that an entire population could think of land as personal, not collective, property, exploitable as one might please. How could they understand, not knowing that in the Europe those people came from every speck of land was owned as personal property by somebody, generally a monarch who disposed the use of it in chunks to subordinates.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Howdy Bob!

              In some ways that’s how you know you’re dealing with deep culture: the inability to fathom that someone could possibly interpret the world THAT way. When Europeans showed up in Asia in numbers with ships, the Asian cultures were confused by the way Europeans co-mingled business and diplomacy. The Asians had always kept them separate. You traded among states. You embedded communities of your traders within the large city trading centers and everyone carried on. If a government felt it necessary to make war, well, why would you take it out on the business people living amongst you? If a trader did something dastardly, you didn’t hold their government responsible.

              For the Europeans, trade was an extension of the state.

              The Mongols believed in allowing their conquered peoples to retain their culture and religion. They married their soldiers off to their women, recruited among them, and took tribute from them. They allowed their army to settle in conquered areas which resulted in some assimilation and acculturation of the two cultures. No one was prepared for the radical ideas that Europe had come up with in its isolation and suffering during the Dark Ages.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

              • And, when the Japanese began to understand how the Europeans and Americans were thinking, the closed to doors and very strictly regulated any contact, but took care to also learn the technology. So, “Opening Japan” became a prime goal of American foreign policy regardless of party affiliation of the President in office.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  At the critical moment of the Europeans arriving in Asia, China closed its doors, too. Korea was known as the Hermit Kingdom. There must be an isolationist theme in the cultures of NE Asia. That same instinct as trying to crush and dominate something different is the one to keep it all at bay. Keep the world out there.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Europeans and Americans have no monopoly on xenophobia. Also, those cultures had seen (and at times been) predatory conquerors often enough to know one when it showed up. They also saw the European nations as upstarts, even barbarians. I’m reminded of this in a rather different context:

                    “Yes, I am a Jew and when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.”
                    Benjamin Disraeli

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      Those lines about my ancestors were sophisticated while yours were living nasty, brutish, and short lives are usually told by terrifically biased and prejudiced people who are justifying their repression of someone. I don’t think that was Disraeli’s meaning, but he certainly was trying to establish that he was superior.

                      Recently, I’ve heard several people use the line about a people without history to justify the oppression of others.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • When someone refers to others as a people without history, that is exactly what they are doing. Even in the field of anthropology it has been very difficult to get rid of the word “primitive”. There are no “primitive” cultures. They are all precisely the same age, the age of our species. A culture which survives is successful and if it’s complexity is not visible in its “stuff”, it is still present.

                      Disraeli was clearly responding to some anti-Semitic slur. It was generally not very wise to really anger him in the course of debate in the House of Commons – an example: “Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my comment that half the Cabinet are idiots. Half the cabinet are not idiots.”

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Disraeli has given us many great quips. And, he was a decent person for his time from what I know of him.

                      I’ve long said that hunter-gatherers would have an easier time adjusting to life in the urban environment than we would in a hunter-gatherer environment. Maybe that field experiment will be enacted here pretty soon since we have many Amazonians now living in urban settings and we are very likely to be losing our urban comforts.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Hardly a day goes by now when i don’t hear in the news of a problem or shortage of something rooted in a messed up supply chain. And, it seems, as in the Great Chip Shortage, once they get out of wack they are very difficult and disruptive to fix and get caught up with demand, which is, of course distorted by the shortage. This is how complex systems with too little sloppiness and redundancy built in fail.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      I guess we were lucky to not only have lived during the heyday of our country’s wealth, power, and resources, but to have done so in your youth and young adulthood so we could fully enjoy it.

                      My mother’s life was far better materially than her father’s. Mine was about the same as hers. I just got to enjoy the material comforts for a much greater proportion of it. It is hard to watch it all in decline, but I think that is what it is. We just can’t sustain it.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      To see the decline as it happens as a person in power would be overwhelming. Cognitive dissonance suggests that it would be difficult to do both, rule and realize the decline, so they deny the decline and carry on. Or, they deny the decline and continue to line their own pockets and hope they can choose the most opportune moment to get out — maximum money, least risk of death. Kinda like Ghani did in Afghanistan.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’ve said this before, but it never made sense to me that the fossil fuel industry wouldn’t simply begin shifting to renewables instead of clinging to oil. The Saudis have started the transition, even though Trump gave them some breathing room. Look for them to begin getting the most they can for the oil they have left.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • They were doing quite well at maximizing the cashing in until we started fracking combined with the financial crisis. Their oil was topping $100/barrel. Several of the other single product producers were solvent and able to buy off their unemployed. Now, the price keep trying to go down to the break even point.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      The Saudis had two goals with lowering the price of oil. First they wanted to make so cheap that fracking was not economically viable. And,, second, they wanted to sell as much of their product as possible to get as much money from it as possible before it was obsolete. We’ll see them return to that strategy. We’ll see them return to that strategy now that Trump can no longer do them any favors.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 2 people

Howdy Y'all! Come on in, pardner! Join this here conversation! I would love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.