Dogs are particularly good at tasks that involve communicating or cooperating with humans, which has led some researchers to speculate that they are really good at solving social tasks, more generally.
In general, the ability to attribute attention to others seems important: it allows an animal to notice the presence of other individuals (whether conspecifics, prey, or predators) as well as important locations or events by following the body orientation or eyegaze of others.
Evidence has been accumulating for several years that contagious yawning is driven by social cognition. But how? And is it related to empathy?
You love your dog. Does your dog love you back? Is the love that an owner feels for her dog reciprocated? That's the question that a group of Swedish and Danish researchers wanted to answer.
The 1962 cartoon series The Jetsons featured a futuristic nuclear family: father George, mother Jane, and their offspring, Elroy and Judy. In the very first episode, we learn about the Jetson family’s purchase of a housecleaning robot named Rosey.
My schoolteachers took effort to separate close friends when arranging their classroom seating charts. The idea was that we’d pay more attention to our lessons if we were distracted by our buddies.
Why were cats domesticated in the first place? And how? Given their relatively poor ability to socially engage with humans, it isn't exactly clear why or how they were domesticated, or how they came to play such a significant role in human culture.
Zen recently wrote mentioned this study on his blog, so I thought it was time to dredge it out of the archives. Also, I’ve just returned from APS (see my daily recaps here here and here), and I am TIRED.
I’ve decided I want to cover some recent research on social cognition in domesticated dogs. But first, we need some background. So here’s a repost from the old blog.
You can have a pet domesticated fox of your very own – from the Russian fox farm I’ve previously written about – for the low low price of just $5,950.
Live with a dog, and you've probably met the "guilty look." It all happens so fast — you come home, the plants are knocked over, soil is tracked all over the floor, and there's the dog, frozen, averting gaze, and tail thumping.
They're the only species of horse never to be domesticated, and have a fascinating history.
Here’s something curious. The phrase “man’s best friend” didn’t appear in print, according to Google’s n-grams, until after the year 1750.
Where did dogs come from? The question is harder to answer than it seems. The problem with much of the research on domestication is that the focus has been on how dogs and wolves interact with humans.