In a study conducted by researchers from the Department of Ethology at Eotvos Lorand University, the team examined how dogs interpret human gestures, comparing them to children. The study revealed that “smartest” dogs seem to pay attention not only to the location of an object but also to its appearance, suggesting a similarity in information processing with humans.
The phenomenon known as “spatial bias” refers to 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 interpret it as a direction.
The researchers tested 82 dogs in behavioral tasks assessing their ability to learn the location of a reward relative to the features of an object. Research has shown that “smarter” dogs learn faster, indicating a link between their cognitive abilities and their ability to interpret information in more detail. To understand whether this spatial bias was related to a sensory or cognitive problem, the researchers measured the dogs’ head length, which correlates with visual acuity, and subjected them to cognitive tests.
The results showed that dogs with better visual and cognitive abilities showed less spatial bias. In conclusion, this study provides new insights into the minds of our furry companions, suggesting that their ability to interpret information goes beyond simple vision and opens up new perspectives on understanding how they think.