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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Do Emotional Cues Influence the Performance of Domestic Dogs in an Observational Learning Task?

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Albuquerque, Natalia [1] ; Savalli, Carine [1, 2] ; Cabral, Francisco [1] ; Resende, Briseida [1]
Total Authors: 4
[1] Univ Sao Paulo, Inst Psychol, Dept Expt Psychol, Sao Paulo - Brazil
[2] Univ Fed Sao Paulo, Dept Publ Policies & Collect Hlth, Sao Paulo - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 2
Document type: Journal article
Source: FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY; v. 12, MAY 20 2021.
Web of Science Citations: 0

Using social information is not indiscriminate and being able to choose what to copy and from whom to copy is critical. Dogs are able to learn socially, to recognize, and respond to dog as well as human emotional expressions, and to make reputation-like inferences based on how people behave towards their owner. Yet, the mechanisms dogs use for obtaining and utilizing social information are still to be fully understood, especially concerning whether emotional cues influence dogs' social learning. Therefore, our main aim was to test the hypothesis that an emotionally charged (negative, positive, or neutral) interaction with the demonstrator of a ``V{''} detour task prior to testing would affect subjects' performance, by: (i) changing the value of the information provided by the demonstrator or (ii) changing the valence of the learning environment. Our experimental design consisted of three phases: pre-test (subjects were allowed to solve the task alone); emotional display (dogs watched the unfamiliar human behaving in either a positive, negative or neutral way towards their owner); test (demonstrator showed the task and subjects were allowed to move freely). Only dogs that failed in pre-test were considered for analysis (n = 46). We analyzed four dependent variables: success, time to solve the task, latency to reach the fence and matching the side of demonstration. For each, we used four models (GEEs and GLMMs) to investigate the effect of (1) demographic factors; (2) experimental design factors (including emotional group); (3) behavior of the dog; and (4) side chosen and matching. All models took into account all trials (random effect included) and the first trials only. Our findings corroborate previous studies of social learning, but present no evidence to sustain our hypothesis. We discuss the possibility of our stimuli not being salient enough in a task that involves highly motivating food and relies on long and highly distracting interval between phases. Nevertheless, these results represent an important contribution to the study of dog behavior and social cognition and pave the way for further investigations. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 19/15197-0 - Behavioural plasticity in capuchin monkeys (genus Sapajus)
Grantee:Natalia de Souza Albuquerque
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
FAPESP's process: 18/25595-0 - Social interaction and niche construction: an ethological approach
Grantee:Briseida Dôgo de Resende
Support type: Regular Research Grants