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The effect of domestication on inhibitory control: wolves and dogs compared.

Marshall-Pescini S, Virányi Z, Range F - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Inhibitory control i.e. blocking an impulsive or prepotent response in favour of a more appropriate alternative, has been suggested to play an important role in cooperative behaviour.On the other hand, through the domestication process, dogs may have been selected for cooperative tendencies towards humans and/or a less reactive temperament, which may in turn have affected their inhibitory control abilities.Results are discussed in relation to previous studies using these paradigms and in terms of the validity of these two methods in assessing inhibitory control.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Wolf Science Centre, Ernstbrunn, Austria.

ABSTRACT
Inhibitory control i.e. blocking an impulsive or prepotent response in favour of a more appropriate alternative, has been suggested to play an important role in cooperative behaviour. Interestingly, while dogs and wolves show a similar social organization, they differ in their intraspecific cooperation tendencies in that wolves rely more heavily on group coordination in regard to hunting and pup-rearing compared to dogs. Hence, based on the 'canine cooperation' hypothesis wolves should show better inhibitory control than dogs. On the other hand, through the domestication process, dogs may have been selected for cooperative tendencies towards humans and/or a less reactive temperament, which may in turn have affected their inhibitory control abilities. Hence, based on the latter hypothesis, we would expect dogs to show a higher performance in tasks requiring inhibitory control. To test the predictive value of these alternative hypotheses, in the current study two tasks; the 'cylinder task' and the 'detour task', which are designed to assess inhibitory control, were used to evaluate the performance of identically raised pack dogs and wolves. Results from the cylinder task showed a significantly poorer performance in wolves than identically-raised pack dogs (and showed that pack-dogs performed similarly to pet dogs with different training experiences), however contrary results emerged in the detour task, with wolves showing a shorter latency to success and less perseverative behaviour at the fence. Results are discussed in relation to previous studies using these paradigms and in terms of the validity of these two methods in assessing inhibitory control.

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Wolves’ and pack-dogs’ performance in the detour task.Mean duration (in seconds) and SE of time spent close to the fence in front of the food by wolves and dogs in the detour task. *p<0.01.
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pone.0118469.g001: Wolves’ and pack-dogs’ performance in the detour task.Mean duration (in seconds) and SE of time spent close to the fence in front of the food by wolves and dogs in the detour task. *p<0.01.

Mentions: In the first trial, wolves succeeded in detouring the fence significantly faster than the dogs (mean±SE: wolves: 22.41±4.35, dogs: 34.13 ± 5.7; U = 51.0, p = 0.037), with two dogs failing to detour within the 60 second trial time. The slower detouring as well as the failing of the dogs can be explained by spending more time at the fence in proximity to the food e.g. showing less inhibitory control than the wolves (mean±SE: wolves: 10.01 ± 2.73, dogs: 19.12 ± 4.3; U = 44, p = 0.016) (Fig. 1).


The effect of domestication on inhibitory control: wolves and dogs compared.

Marshall-Pescini S, Virányi Z, Range F - PLoS ONE (2015)

Wolves’ and pack-dogs’ performance in the detour task.Mean duration (in seconds) and SE of time spent close to the fence in front of the food by wolves and dogs in the detour task. *p<0.01.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4340790&req=5

pone.0118469.g001: Wolves’ and pack-dogs’ performance in the detour task.Mean duration (in seconds) and SE of time spent close to the fence in front of the food by wolves and dogs in the detour task. *p<0.01.
Mentions: In the first trial, wolves succeeded in detouring the fence significantly faster than the dogs (mean±SE: wolves: 22.41±4.35, dogs: 34.13 ± 5.7; U = 51.0, p = 0.037), with two dogs failing to detour within the 60 second trial time. The slower detouring as well as the failing of the dogs can be explained by spending more time at the fence in proximity to the food e.g. showing less inhibitory control than the wolves (mean±SE: wolves: 10.01 ± 2.73, dogs: 19.12 ± 4.3; U = 44, p = 0.016) (Fig. 1).

Bottom Line: Inhibitory control i.e. blocking an impulsive or prepotent response in favour of a more appropriate alternative, has been suggested to play an important role in cooperative behaviour.On the other hand, through the domestication process, dogs may have been selected for cooperative tendencies towards humans and/or a less reactive temperament, which may in turn have affected their inhibitory control abilities.Results are discussed in relation to previous studies using these paradigms and in terms of the validity of these two methods in assessing inhibitory control.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Wolf Science Centre, Ernstbrunn, Austria.

ABSTRACT
Inhibitory control i.e. blocking an impulsive or prepotent response in favour of a more appropriate alternative, has been suggested to play an important role in cooperative behaviour. Interestingly, while dogs and wolves show a similar social organization, they differ in their intraspecific cooperation tendencies in that wolves rely more heavily on group coordination in regard to hunting and pup-rearing compared to dogs. Hence, based on the 'canine cooperation' hypothesis wolves should show better inhibitory control than dogs. On the other hand, through the domestication process, dogs may have been selected for cooperative tendencies towards humans and/or a less reactive temperament, which may in turn have affected their inhibitory control abilities. Hence, based on the latter hypothesis, we would expect dogs to show a higher performance in tasks requiring inhibitory control. To test the predictive value of these alternative hypotheses, in the current study two tasks; the 'cylinder task' and the 'detour task', which are designed to assess inhibitory control, were used to evaluate the performance of identically raised pack dogs and wolves. Results from the cylinder task showed a significantly poorer performance in wolves than identically-raised pack dogs (and showed that pack-dogs performed similarly to pet dogs with different training experiences), however contrary results emerged in the detour task, with wolves showing a shorter latency to success and less perseverative behaviour at the fence. Results are discussed in relation to previous studies using these paradigms and in terms of the validity of these two methods in assessing inhibitory control.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus