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An Investigation on Social Representations: Inanimate Agent Can Mislead Dogs (Canis familiaris) in a Food Choice Task.

Abdai J, Gergely A, Petró E, Topál J, Miklósi Á - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: The nature of mental representation of others plays a crucial role in social interactions.Former studies found that dogs' preference for larger food quantity could be reversed by humans who indicate the smaller quantity.The question is whether this social bias is restricted to human partners.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary.

ABSTRACT
The nature of mental representation of others plays a crucial role in social interactions. Dogs present an ideal model species for the investigation of such mental representations because they develop social ties with both conspecifics and heterospecifics. Former studies found that dogs' preference for larger food quantity could be reversed by humans who indicate the smaller quantity. The question is whether this social bias is restricted to human partners. We suggest that after a short positive social experience, an unfamiliar moving inanimate agent (UMO) can also change dogs' choice between two food quantities. We tested four groups of dogs with different partners: In the (1) Helper UMO and (2) Helper UMO Control groups the partner was an interactive remote control car that helped the dog to obtain an otherwise unreachable food. In the (3) Non-helper UMO and (4) Human partner groups dogs had restricted interaction with the remote control car and the unfamiliar human partners. In the Human partner, Helper UMO and Helper UMO Control groups the partners were able to revert dogs' choice for the small amount by indicating the small one, but the Non-helper UMO was not. We suggest that dogs are able to generalize their wide range of experiences with humans to another type of agent as well, based on the recognition of similarities in simple behavioural patterns.

No MeSH data available.


Choice of the small food quantity in Phase 1 and 3.Data are only from dogs who chose the larger quantity more often (Phase 1) and the partner indicated the small food quantity in Phase 3; * shows the difference between phases, ¤ shows the difference between groups in Phase 3 (* p<0.05, ** p<0.001, ¤ p<0.01, ¤¤ p<0.001).
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pone.0134575.g002: Choice of the small food quantity in Phase 1 and 3.Data are only from dogs who chose the larger quantity more often (Phase 1) and the partner indicated the small food quantity in Phase 3; * shows the difference between phases, ¤ shows the difference between groups in Phase 3 (* p<0.05, ** p<0.001, ¤ p<0.01, ¤¤ p<0.001).

Mentions: Based on the results both the group and the phase had an effect on dogs’ choice (Group: F3,508 = 3.87, p = 0.009; Phase: F1,508 = 24.92, p<0.001), while the group x phase interaction was not significant (F3,508 = 2.25, p = 0.082). The comparison between phases showed significant difference in the Human partner, the Helper UMO and the Helper UMO Control groups (Phase 1 vs 3: Human partner p<0.001; Non-helper UMO p = 0.231; Helper UMO p = 0.030; Helper UMO Control p = 0.039). In Phase 1 there was no difference between groups (Human partner vs Non-helper UMO: p = 0.631; Human partner vs Helper UMO: p = 1.00; Human partner vs Helper UMO Control: p = 0.553; Non-helper UMO vs Helper UMO: p = 0.636; Non-helper UMO vs Helper UMO Control: p = 0.921; Helper UMO vs Helper UMO Control: p = 0.553), but in Phase 3 there were significant differences between the Human partner and Non-helper UMO groups, the Human partner and Helper UMO groups and the Human partner and Helper UMO Control groups (Human partner vs Non-helper UMO: p<0.001; Human partner vs Helper UMO: p = 0.004; Human partner vs Helper UMO Control: p<0.001; Non-helper UMO vs Helper UMO: p = 0.171; Non-helper UMO vs Helper UMO Control: p = 0.497; Helper UMO vs Helper UMO Control: p = 0.483; see Fig 2).


An Investigation on Social Representations: Inanimate Agent Can Mislead Dogs (Canis familiaris) in a Food Choice Task.

Abdai J, Gergely A, Petró E, Topál J, Miklósi Á - PLoS ONE (2015)

Choice of the small food quantity in Phase 1 and 3.Data are only from dogs who chose the larger quantity more often (Phase 1) and the partner indicated the small food quantity in Phase 3; * shows the difference between phases, ¤ shows the difference between groups in Phase 3 (* p<0.05, ** p<0.001, ¤ p<0.01, ¤¤ p<0.001).
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4524664&req=5

pone.0134575.g002: Choice of the small food quantity in Phase 1 and 3.Data are only from dogs who chose the larger quantity more often (Phase 1) and the partner indicated the small food quantity in Phase 3; * shows the difference between phases, ¤ shows the difference between groups in Phase 3 (* p<0.05, ** p<0.001, ¤ p<0.01, ¤¤ p<0.001).
Mentions: Based on the results both the group and the phase had an effect on dogs’ choice (Group: F3,508 = 3.87, p = 0.009; Phase: F1,508 = 24.92, p<0.001), while the group x phase interaction was not significant (F3,508 = 2.25, p = 0.082). The comparison between phases showed significant difference in the Human partner, the Helper UMO and the Helper UMO Control groups (Phase 1 vs 3: Human partner p<0.001; Non-helper UMO p = 0.231; Helper UMO p = 0.030; Helper UMO Control p = 0.039). In Phase 1 there was no difference between groups (Human partner vs Non-helper UMO: p = 0.631; Human partner vs Helper UMO: p = 1.00; Human partner vs Helper UMO Control: p = 0.553; Non-helper UMO vs Helper UMO: p = 0.636; Non-helper UMO vs Helper UMO Control: p = 0.921; Helper UMO vs Helper UMO Control: p = 0.553), but in Phase 3 there were significant differences between the Human partner and Non-helper UMO groups, the Human partner and Helper UMO groups and the Human partner and Helper UMO Control groups (Human partner vs Non-helper UMO: p<0.001; Human partner vs Helper UMO: p = 0.004; Human partner vs Helper UMO Control: p<0.001; Non-helper UMO vs Helper UMO: p = 0.171; Non-helper UMO vs Helper UMO Control: p = 0.497; Helper UMO vs Helper UMO Control: p = 0.483; see Fig 2).

Bottom Line: The nature of mental representation of others plays a crucial role in social interactions.Former studies found that dogs' preference for larger food quantity could be reversed by humans who indicate the smaller quantity.The question is whether this social bias is restricted to human partners.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary.

ABSTRACT
The nature of mental representation of others plays a crucial role in social interactions. Dogs present an ideal model species for the investigation of such mental representations because they develop social ties with both conspecifics and heterospecifics. Former studies found that dogs' preference for larger food quantity could be reversed by humans who indicate the smaller quantity. The question is whether this social bias is restricted to human partners. We suggest that after a short positive social experience, an unfamiliar moving inanimate agent (UMO) can also change dogs' choice between two food quantities. We tested four groups of dogs with different partners: In the (1) Helper UMO and (2) Helper UMO Control groups the partner was an interactive remote control car that helped the dog to obtain an otherwise unreachable food. In the (3) Non-helper UMO and (4) Human partner groups dogs had restricted interaction with the remote control car and the unfamiliar human partners. In the Human partner, Helper UMO and Helper UMO Control groups the partners were able to revert dogs' choice for the small amount by indicating the small one, but the Non-helper UMO was not. We suggest that dogs are able to generalize their wide range of experiences with humans to another type of agent as well, based on the recognition of similarities in simple behavioural patterns.

No MeSH data available.