Differential sensitivity to human communication in dogs, wolves, and human infants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

166 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ten-month-old infants persistently search for a hidden object at its initial hiding place even after observing it being hidden at another location. Recent evidence suggests that communicative cues from the experimenter contribute to the emergence of this perseverative search error. We replicated these results with dogs (Canis familiaris), who also commit more search errors in ostensive-communicative (in 75% of the total trials) than in noncommunicative (39%) or nonsocial (17%) hiding contexts. However, comparative investigations suggest that communicative signals serve different functions for dogs and infants, whereas human-reared wolves (Canis lupus) do not show doglike context-dependent differences of search errors. We propose that shared sensitivity to human communicative signals stems from convergent social evolution of the Homo and the Canis genera.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1269-1272
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume325
Issue number5945
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 14 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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