Presence and lasting effect of social referencing in dog puppies

Claudia Fugazza, Alexandra Moesta, Ákos Pogány, A. Miklósi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Social referencing is the process by which individuals utilize cues from emotional displays of a social partner to form their response to a new situation. Social referencing can provide advantages, especially to young, inexperienced individuals, by favouring an appropriate reaction to novel situations while avoiding the risks of trial and error learning. While there is evidence for social referencing from humans in adult dogs, Canis familiaris, the ontogeny of this behaviour has not been investigated. Moreover, it is not known whether dogs acquire some information during such interactions and recall it later, when encountering a similar situation. We tested 8-week-old companion dog puppies (N = 48) of various breeds by exposing them to a novel stimulus in the presence of human or conspecific social partners. With humans, we tested the effect of different emotional signals expressed by the informant. With conspecifics, we tested whether the presence of the subject's mother or an unfamiliar dog affected behaviour towards the stimulus. Puppies alternated their gaze between the stimulus and the social partner (referential looking) with all the partners. Puppies tested in the presence of a human expressing positive emotional signals towards the stimulus were more likely to approach it than puppies tested with a human expressing neutral emotional signals (behavioural regulation). Importantly, this effect was still apparent after a delay of 1 h, when puppies were tested alone. Puppies tested in the presence of their mother were more likely to approach the stimulus than puppies tested alone or with an unfamiliar dog. The results of this study show that the ability for social referencing develops early in the ontogeny of companion dogs as it is already present at 8 weeks. The valence of the emotional cues provided by a human social partner and the presence of the mother affect the behaviour of puppies exposed to novel situations, even after a delay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-75
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume141
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018

Fingerprint

puppies
dogs
ontogeny
dog
effect
learning
breeds

Keywords

  • behavioural regulation
  • dog puppies
  • emotional signals
  • referential looking
  • social referencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Presence and lasting effect of social referencing in dog puppies. / Fugazza, Claudia; Moesta, Alexandra; Pogány, Ákos; Miklósi, A.

In: Animal Behaviour, Vol. 141, 01.07.2018, p. 67-75.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fugazza, Claudia ; Moesta, Alexandra ; Pogány, Ákos ; Miklósi, A. / Presence and lasting effect of social referencing in dog puppies. In: Animal Behaviour. 2018 ; Vol. 141. pp. 67-75.
@article{596a7f0eb1284e14b29f5c29c3495521,
title = "Presence and lasting effect of social referencing in dog puppies",
abstract = "Social referencing is the process by which individuals utilize cues from emotional displays of a social partner to form their response to a new situation. Social referencing can provide advantages, especially to young, inexperienced individuals, by favouring an appropriate reaction to novel situations while avoiding the risks of trial and error learning. While there is evidence for social referencing from humans in adult dogs, Canis familiaris, the ontogeny of this behaviour has not been investigated. Moreover, it is not known whether dogs acquire some information during such interactions and recall it later, when encountering a similar situation. We tested 8-week-old companion dog puppies (N = 48) of various breeds by exposing them to a novel stimulus in the presence of human or conspecific social partners. With humans, we tested the effect of different emotional signals expressed by the informant. With conspecifics, we tested whether the presence of the subject's mother or an unfamiliar dog affected behaviour towards the stimulus. Puppies alternated their gaze between the stimulus and the social partner (referential looking) with all the partners. Puppies tested in the presence of a human expressing positive emotional signals towards the stimulus were more likely to approach it than puppies tested with a human expressing neutral emotional signals (behavioural regulation). Importantly, this effect was still apparent after a delay of 1 h, when puppies were tested alone. Puppies tested in the presence of their mother were more likely to approach the stimulus than puppies tested alone or with an unfamiliar dog. The results of this study show that the ability for social referencing develops early in the ontogeny of companion dogs as it is already present at 8 weeks. The valence of the emotional cues provided by a human social partner and the presence of the mother affect the behaviour of puppies exposed to novel situations, even after a delay.",
keywords = "behavioural regulation, dog puppies, emotional signals, referential looking, social referencing",
author = "Claudia Fugazza and Alexandra Moesta and {\'A}kos Pog{\'a}ny and A. Mikl{\'o}si",
year = "2018",
month = "7",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.05.007",
language = "English",
volume = "141",
pages = "67--75",
journal = "Animal Behaviour",
issn = "0003-3472",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Presence and lasting effect of social referencing in dog puppies

AU - Fugazza, Claudia

AU - Moesta, Alexandra

AU - Pogány, Ákos

AU - Miklósi, A.

PY - 2018/7/1

Y1 - 2018/7/1

N2 - Social referencing is the process by which individuals utilize cues from emotional displays of a social partner to form their response to a new situation. Social referencing can provide advantages, especially to young, inexperienced individuals, by favouring an appropriate reaction to novel situations while avoiding the risks of trial and error learning. While there is evidence for social referencing from humans in adult dogs, Canis familiaris, the ontogeny of this behaviour has not been investigated. Moreover, it is not known whether dogs acquire some information during such interactions and recall it later, when encountering a similar situation. We tested 8-week-old companion dog puppies (N = 48) of various breeds by exposing them to a novel stimulus in the presence of human or conspecific social partners. With humans, we tested the effect of different emotional signals expressed by the informant. With conspecifics, we tested whether the presence of the subject's mother or an unfamiliar dog affected behaviour towards the stimulus. Puppies alternated their gaze between the stimulus and the social partner (referential looking) with all the partners. Puppies tested in the presence of a human expressing positive emotional signals towards the stimulus were more likely to approach it than puppies tested with a human expressing neutral emotional signals (behavioural regulation). Importantly, this effect was still apparent after a delay of 1 h, when puppies were tested alone. Puppies tested in the presence of their mother were more likely to approach the stimulus than puppies tested alone or with an unfamiliar dog. The results of this study show that the ability for social referencing develops early in the ontogeny of companion dogs as it is already present at 8 weeks. The valence of the emotional cues provided by a human social partner and the presence of the mother affect the behaviour of puppies exposed to novel situations, even after a delay.

AB - Social referencing is the process by which individuals utilize cues from emotional displays of a social partner to form their response to a new situation. Social referencing can provide advantages, especially to young, inexperienced individuals, by favouring an appropriate reaction to novel situations while avoiding the risks of trial and error learning. While there is evidence for social referencing from humans in adult dogs, Canis familiaris, the ontogeny of this behaviour has not been investigated. Moreover, it is not known whether dogs acquire some information during such interactions and recall it later, when encountering a similar situation. We tested 8-week-old companion dog puppies (N = 48) of various breeds by exposing them to a novel stimulus in the presence of human or conspecific social partners. With humans, we tested the effect of different emotional signals expressed by the informant. With conspecifics, we tested whether the presence of the subject's mother or an unfamiliar dog affected behaviour towards the stimulus. Puppies alternated their gaze between the stimulus and the social partner (referential looking) with all the partners. Puppies tested in the presence of a human expressing positive emotional signals towards the stimulus were more likely to approach it than puppies tested with a human expressing neutral emotional signals (behavioural regulation). Importantly, this effect was still apparent after a delay of 1 h, when puppies were tested alone. Puppies tested in the presence of their mother were more likely to approach the stimulus than puppies tested alone or with an unfamiliar dog. The results of this study show that the ability for social referencing develops early in the ontogeny of companion dogs as it is already present at 8 weeks. The valence of the emotional cues provided by a human social partner and the presence of the mother affect the behaviour of puppies exposed to novel situations, even after a delay.

KW - behavioural regulation

KW - dog puppies

KW - emotional signals

KW - referential looking

KW - social referencing

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85048306811&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85048306811&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.05.007

DO - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.05.007

M3 - Article

VL - 141

SP - 67

EP - 75

JO - Animal Behaviour

JF - Animal Behaviour

SN - 0003-3472

ER -