Novel approach to study the perception of animacy in dogsReport as inadecuate

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Humans tend to perceive inanimate objects as animate based on simple motion cues. So far this perceptual bias has been studied mostly in humans by utilizing two-dimensional video and interactive displays. Considering its importance for survival, the perception of animacy is probably also widespread among animals, however two-dimensional displays are not necessarily the best approach to study the phenomenon in non-human species. Here we applied a novel method to study whether dogs recognize a dependent chasing-like movement pattern performed by inanimate agents in live demonstration. We found that dogs showed more interest toward the agents that demonstrated the chasing-like motion, compared to those that were involved in the independent movement. We suggest that dogs spontaneously recognized the chasing-like pattern and thus they may have considered the interacting partners as animate agents. This methodological approach may be useful to test perceptual animacy in other non-human species.

Author: Judit Abdai , Cristina Baño Terencio, Ádám Miklósi



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