NCBI ROFL: Dogs (Canis familiaris) evaluate humans on the basis of direct experiences only.

By ncbi rofl | October 15, 2012 7:00 pm

“Reputation formation is a key component in the social interactions of many animal species. An evaluation of reputation is drawn from two principal sources: direct experience of an individual and indirect experience from observing that individual interacting with a third party. In the current study we investigated whether dogs use direct and/or indirect experience to choose between two human interactants. In the first experiment, subjects had direct interaction either with a “nice” human (who played with, talked to and stroked the dog) or with an “ignoring” experimenter who ignored the dog completely. Results showed that the dogs stayed longer close to the “nice” human. In a second experiment the dogs observed a “nice” or “ignoring” human interacting with another dog. This indirect experience, however, did not lead to a preference between the two humans. These results suggest that the dogs in our study evaluated humans solely on the basis of direct experience.”

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, NCBI ROFL, rated G
  • Chad

    Dogs do evaluate people based on interactions with others. I saw a father playing rough with his teenage son, their dog growled, bit the father in the but and the son laughed. The dog then stood between the father and son and growled more, and the son laughed more. I think this has just shown that “ignoring” is not sufficient for dogs to rate indirect interactions. Perhaps mock fights?

  • Anonymous

    how very fair of them.


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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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