Your Dog Knows Which Of Your Friends Are Rude
The Debrief: Have you ever felt judged by a dog?
Have you ever felt judged by a dog? I have, especially when it involves trying to get a dog to be my friend but they’re having none of this. This happens on a regular basis. I’m a cat person, Okay.
It turns out judgmental dogs is a thing, though. Scientists from Kyoto University completed a test of the extent of dogs social cognition, and it turns out they recognise unfriendly gestures towards their owners and hold grudges. Soooo this is really awkward as maybe this means I've been unfriendly towards friends with dogs? Great.
Scientists recruited fifty-four dogs and their owners to partake in the study – but on the sly they didn’t tell them what the study was for. The owners were given a container that they had to pretend to struggle to open, and then an actor in the room would have to help and open it first time – or walk away.
The actor and owner then offered the dog a treat at the same time to see who the ‘preferred person’ was. You can guess what happened - if the actor had been helpful and opened the container, the dog took their treat, but if they hadn’t helped, they took the treat from the other person.
The dogs were able to judge individuals based on observed behaviour. If your dog appears to be watching your social interactions, he clearly knows that fuck boy is treating you badly and he probably doesn’t like him one little bit. Are you hearing this? Your dog probably has a ‘highly developed social competence,’ and a ‘core morality.’ Your dog is basically human, he knows everything. Kind of.
The research, published in the journal of Neuroscience & Biobehavioural Reviews, was an extension of an 2011 experiment in which dogs preferred actors who gave food to homeless people, over those who did not. So not only does your dog gage social interactions like a pro, they also have great morals.
If you need us we’re just off to purchase a dog so we can never hang out with mean people ever again. Ciao.
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