Dogs' Sensitivity to Human Ostensive Cues: A Unique Adaptation? A Unique Adaptation?

József Topál, Anna Kis, Katalin Oláh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is increasing scientific agreement that domestication has led to the adaptive specialisation of dogs in the human environment, and this evolutionary process has greatly impacted the behaviour of 'man's best friend'. There are, however, highly contrasting views on the question of how important a role domestication played in the formation of dogs' responsiveness to human referential and ostensive cues. In this chapter, we argue that the evolutionary adaptation to the human social environment created an animal possessing functionally human infant-analogue skills with regard to communication abilities. We propose that, irrespective of its precise evolutionary origin and the underlying cognitive machinery, the dog-human communicative interaction can be described as a step-by-step constructive process based on a set of specific skills in both participants. This is a shared characteristic of dog-human and infant-adult interactions, and among others, this makes this animal-on an intuitive level-so childlike for us.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Social Dog
Subtitle of host publicationBehavior and Cognition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Pages319-346
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9780124078185
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Communicative intention
  • Cue
  • Dog-human interaction
  • Genericity assumption
  • Ostensive
  • Pedagogical knowledge transfer
  • Referential cue
  • Referential expectation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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    Topál, J., Kis, A., & Oláh, K. (2014). Dogs' Sensitivity to Human Ostensive Cues: A Unique Adaptation? A Unique Adaptation? In The Social Dog: Behavior and Cognition (pp. 319-346). Elsevier Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-407818-5.00011-5