Concept

Dog intelligence

Summary
Dog intelligence or dog cognition is the process in dogs of acquiring information and conceptual skills, and storing them in memory, retrieving, combining and comparing them, and using them in new situations. Studies have shown that dogs display many behaviors associated with intelligence. They have advanced memory skills, and are able to read and react appropriately to human body language such as gesturing and pointing, and to understand human voice commands. Dogs demonstrate a theory of mind by engaging in deception. Dogs have often been used in studies of cognition, including research on perception, awareness, memory, and learning, notably research on classical and operant conditioning. In the course of this research, behavioral scientists uncovered a surprising set of social-cognitive abilities in the domestic dog, abilities that are neither possessed by dogs' closest canine relatives nor by other highly intelligent mammals such as great apes. Rather, these skills resemble some of the social-cognitive skills of human children. This may be an example of convergent evolution, which happens when distantly related species independently evolve similar solutions to the same problems. For example, fish, penguins and dolphins have each separately evolved flippers as solution to the problem of moving through the water. With dogs and humans, we may see psychological convergence; that is, dogs have evolved to be cognitively more similar to humans than we are to our closest genetic relatives. However, it is questionable whether the cognitive evolution of humans and animals may be called "independent". The cognitive capacities of dogs have inevitably been shaped by millennia of contact with humans. As a result of this physical and social evolution, many dogs readily respond to social cues common to humans, quickly learn the meaning of words, show cognitive bias and exhibit emotions that seem to reflect those of humans. Research suggests that domestic dogs may have lost some of their original cognitive abilities once they joined humans.
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