In a groundbreaking study from the University of Eotvos Lorànd, researchers from the Department of Ethology examined how dogs interpret human gestures, comparing them with children. The results of this study have revealed that dogs pay attention not only to the location of an object but also to its appearance, suggesting a similarity in information processing to humans.
This phenomenon, known as “spatial bias,” concerns the interpretation of information in relation to space. For example, when we show children and dogs the location of an object, children interpret the gesture as an indication of the object, while dogs take it as a direction. This difference was explored in depth by this specific study.
Researchers tested 82 dogs in behavioral tasks evaluating their ability to learn the location of a reward relative to the characteristics of an object. The results showed that “smarter” dogs learned faster, suggesting a connection between their cognitive abilities and their ability to interpret information in more detail. To understand whether this “spatial bias” is related to a sensory or cognitive issue, researchers measured the dogs’ head length, which correlates with visual acuity and subjected them to cognitive tests.
The findings revealed that Dogs with better visual and cognitive abilities showed a reduced “spatial bias.” This suggests that our furry friends are capable of interpreting information beyond simple vision and provides new insights into how they think. In conclusion, this study highlights the complexity and depth of our understanding of canine cognition and behavior.