Research press release


Scientific Reports

Animal behaviour: Dogs may have body awareness and understand consequences of own actions

イヌは自分の体を障害物として認識していて、自分の行動の結果を理解している可能性のあることが、32匹の飼い犬を対象とした研究から明らかになった。この結果を報告する論文が、Scientific Reports に掲載される。


今回、Péter Pongrácz、Rita Lenkeiたちの研究チームは、イヌに「体が障害物になる」課題をさせる実験を行った。この課題は、小型マットの上に立たせたイヌが、マット上に配置した玩具を飼い主に渡すというもので、玩具をマットに固定した場合には、イヌは、玩具を飼い主に渡すためにマットから降りなければならない。



Dogs may be able to recognize their own body as an obstacle and also understand the consequences of their own actions, according to a study involving 32 pet dogs published in Scientific Reports.

Previous research has shown that dogs have complex cognitive capabilities, such as empathy and social learning, but whether they also show any form of self-awareness was not clear.

Péter Pongrácz and Rita Lenkei tested dogs in a ‘body as an obstacle’ task, during which the dogs had to pick up and give a toy to their owner, whilst standing on a small mat to which the toy was attached. In order to lift the toy, the dogs had to leave the mat.

The authors found that dogs left the mat more frequently and sooner when the toy was attached to the mat than in control experiments, where it was attached to the ground and leaving the mat did not impact the dogs’ ability to pass the toy to their owners. Dogs were also found to leave the mat more often with the toy in their mouth if it was attached to the mat than if it was attached to the ground. The findings suggest that dogs were able to recognize their own body as the obstacle preventing them from giving the toy to their owner and that they differentiated between conditions when it was necessary to leave the mat to complete the task and when leaving the mat would not solve the problem.

The findings may support the idea that dogs have body awareness, the ability to understand the relationship of their own body to objects outside of themselves, which is a precursor of self-awareness, and that they may also have some understanding of the consequences of their own actions.

doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-82309-x


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