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Dogs demonstrate visual perspective taking in the Guesser-Knower task

Amélie Catala 1, 2 Britta Mang 2 Lisa Wallis 3, 2 Ludwig Huber 2
2 Comparative Cognition
University of Veterinary Medecine of Vienna, Messerli Research Institute
Abstract : Can non-human animals ascribe mental states to others? This question lies at the heart of one of the most contentious issues in contemporary comparative cognition research – Theory of Mind. A way to approach this complex issue could be to have a closer look on the building blocks of Theory of Mind, perspective taking. Evidence for this ability would be if animals spontaneously respond to cues that indicate whether another has visual access to a target or not and then use this information as a basis for whom to rely on as an informant. Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) with human informants are an ideal model as they show high sensitivity towards human gazing and have proven able to assess the attentional state of humans in food-stealing or food-begging contexts. In our study we not only replicated the main results of Maginnity and Grace (2014), who recently found that dogs were able to be successful in a Guesser-Knower task, but extended this result with a further, critical control for behaviour-reading: two informants showed identical looking behaviour, but due to their different position in the room, only one had the opportunity to see where the food was hidden by a third person. Preference for the Knower even in this critical test provides solid evidence for geometrical gaze following and perspective taking in dogs.
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https://hal-univ-rennes1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01576985
Contributor : Umr6552 Ethos <>
Submitted on : Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 3:14:04 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 4:08:04 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01576985, version 1

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Amélie Catala, Britta Mang, Lisa Wallis, Ludwig Huber. Dogs demonstrate visual perspective taking in the Guesser-Knower task. Behaviour 2017 - 35th International Ethological Conference, Instituto Universitário de Ciências Psicológicas, Sociais e da Vida (ISPA); Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB), Jul 2017, Estoril, Portugal. ⟨hal-01576985⟩

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