Citizen science as a new tool in dog cognition research

Laughlin Stewart, Evan L. MacLean, David Ivy, Vanessa Woods, Eliot Cohen, Kerri Rodriguez, Matthew McIntyre, Sayan Mukherjee, Josep Call, Juliane Kaminski, A. Miklósi, Richard W. Wrangham, Brian Hare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Family dogs and dog owners offer a potentially powerful way to conduct citizen science to answer questions about animal behavior that are difficult to answer with more conventional approaches. Here we evaluate the quality of the first data on dog cognition collected by citizen scientists using the Dognition.com website. We conducted analyses to understand if data generated by over 500 citizen scientists replicates internally and in comparison to previously published findings. Half of participants participated for free while the other half paid for access. The website provided each participant a temperament questionnaire and instructions on how to conduct a series of ten cognitive tests. Participation required internet access, a dog and some common household items. Participants could record their responses on any PC, tablet or smartphone from anywhere in the world and data were retained on servers. Results from citizen scientists and their dogs replicated a number of previously described phenomena from conventional lab-based research. There was little evidence that citizen scientists manipulated their results. To illustrate the potential uses of relatively large samples of citizen science data, we then used factor analysis to examine individual differences across the cognitive tasks. The data were best explained by multiple factors in support of the hypothesis that nonhumans, including dogs, can evolve multiple cognitive domains that vary independently. This analysis suggests that in the future, citizen scientists will generate useful datasets that test hypotheses and answer questions as a complement to conventional laboratory techniques used to study dog psychology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0135176
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 16 2015

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cognition
Cognition
Websites
Dogs
dogs
Smartphones
Factor analysis
Research
Tablets
Animals
Servers
Internet
temperament
Canidae
psychology
Animal Behavior
Temperament
animal behavior
laboratory techniques
households

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Stewart, L., MacLean, E. L., Ivy, D., Woods, V., Cohen, E., Rodriguez, K., ... Hare, B. (2015). Citizen science as a new tool in dog cognition research. PLoS One, 10(9), [e0135176]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0135176

Citizen science as a new tool in dog cognition research. / Stewart, Laughlin; MacLean, Evan L.; Ivy, David; Woods, Vanessa; Cohen, Eliot; Rodriguez, Kerri; McIntyre, Matthew; Mukherjee, Sayan; Call, Josep; Kaminski, Juliane; Miklósi, A.; Wrangham, Richard W.; Hare, Brian.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 10, No. 9, e0135176, 16.09.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stewart, L, MacLean, EL, Ivy, D, Woods, V, Cohen, E, Rodriguez, K, McIntyre, M, Mukherjee, S, Call, J, Kaminski, J, Miklósi, A, Wrangham, RW & Hare, B 2015, 'Citizen science as a new tool in dog cognition research', PLoS One, vol. 10, no. 9, e0135176. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0135176
Stewart L, MacLean EL, Ivy D, Woods V, Cohen E, Rodriguez K et al. Citizen science as a new tool in dog cognition research. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 16;10(9). e0135176. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0135176
Stewart, Laughlin ; MacLean, Evan L. ; Ivy, David ; Woods, Vanessa ; Cohen, Eliot ; Rodriguez, Kerri ; McIntyre, Matthew ; Mukherjee, Sayan ; Call, Josep ; Kaminski, Juliane ; Miklósi, A. ; Wrangham, Richard W. ; Hare, Brian. / Citizen science as a new tool in dog cognition research. In: PLoS One. 2015 ; Vol. 10, No. 9.
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