A new study from the University of Eotvos Lorànd has shed light on how dogs interpret human gestures, revealing a similarity in information processing to humans. Researchers from the Department of Ethology compared the interpretation of information in relation to space between children and dogs, discovering that while children interpret gestures as an indication of an object’s location, dogs take them as directions.
The study 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 the ability to interpret information in more detail. To understand whether this spatial bias is 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 revealed that dogs with better visual and cognitive abilities showed a reduced spatial bias. This suggests that our furry friends are capable of interpreting information beyond simple vision, offering new insights into understanding how they think.