The 'Do as I Do' as a new method for studying imitation in dogs: Is the dog a copycat?

Claudia Fugazza, A. Miklósi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The study of imitation in non-human animals has always been challenging, especially from a methodological perspective. Recently, the Do as I Do method - and modified versions of it - have provided solid evidence of imitation in dogs and constitute the basis for more in-depth studies on different topics related to imitation. The Do as I Do method is especially advantageous for testing imitation of novel actions, action sequences, intransitive actions as well as deferred imitation, while excluding other possible practical problems which could be the cause of some negative results (i.e. subjects' lack of understanding of the task). The combination of the Do as I Do method with the two-action procedure also allows to control for other non-imitative processes that may result in behavioural similarity between demonstrator and observer. Modified version of the Do as I Do method can unfold dogs' cognitive abilities that could not be revealed by other methods (e.g., episodic memory, generalization of imitation). In this paper, first we review the methods used so far for testing imitation, focusing on the critical issues, then we discuss how the use of modified versions of the Do as I Do method can avoid some of the methodological drawbacks. Finally, we discuss dogs' cognitive abilities that could be investigated by the application of this method, as well as their limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalDog Behavior
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017

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Dogs
dogs
Aptitude
methodology
application methods
Episodic Memory
testing
animals

Keywords

  • Do as I Do
  • Dog
  • Imitation
  • Social learning
  • Two-action method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

The 'Do as I Do' as a new method for studying imitation in dogs : Is the dog a copycat? / Fugazza, Claudia; Miklósi, A.

In: Dog Behavior, Vol. 3, No. 3, 01.01.2017, p. 21-29.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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