A recent study conducted by researchers from the Department of Ethology at the University of Eotvos Loránd has shed new light on how dogs interpret human gestures. The study compared the interpretation of human gestures by dogs with that of children and found that dogs pay attention not only to the location of an object but also to its appearance, suggesting a similarity in information processing to humans.
The phenomenon known as “spatial bias” refers to the interpretation of information in relation to space. For example, when we show children and dogs the location of an object, children interpret the gesture as an indication of the object, while dogs take it as a direction. This difference is now being explored in depth by this specific study.
Researchers have tested 82 dogs in behavioral tasks evaluating their ability to learn the location of a reward relative to the characteristics of an object. The results showed that “smarter” dogs learned faster, suggesting a connection between their cognitive abilities and their ability to interpret information in more detail. To understand whether this spatial bias was related to a sensory or cognitive issue, researchers measured the dogs’ head length, which correlates with visual acuity, and subjected them to cognitive tests.
The results showed that dogs with better visual and cognitive abilities had a reduced spatial bias. In conclusion, this study provides insight into the minds of our furry friends, suggesting that their ability to interpret information goes beyond simple vision and leads to new perspectives on understanding how dogs think.