Researchers from the Department of Ethology at the University of Eotvos Lorànd have recently examined how dogs interpret human gestures in comparison to children. The study found that “smartest” dogs pay attention not only to the location of an object but also its appearance, suggesting a similarity in information processing to humans.
The phenomenon known as “spatial bias” involves interpreting information in relation to space. For instance, when showing children and dogs the location of an object, children understand it as an indication of the object, while dogs take it as a direction. This difference has now been explored in depth by the specific study.
In the study, 82 dogs were tested on behavioral tasks that evaluated their ability to learn the location of a reward relative to the characteristics of an object. The results revealed that “smarter” dogs learned faster, indicating a connection between their cognitive abilities and their ability to interpret information in more detail. To determine whether this “spatial bias” is related to sensory or cognitive issues, researchers measured the dogs’ head length (which correlates with visual acuity) and subjected them to cognitive tests.
The findings showed that dogs with better visual and cognitive abilities exhibited a reduced “spatial bias.” Therefore, this study provides new insights into understanding how dogs think and suggests that their ability to interpret information goes beyond simple vision.