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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The domestication of social cognition in dogs.

  • Author(s): Hare, Brian
  • Brown, Michelle
  • Williamson, Christina
  • Tomasello, Michael
  • et al.

Dogs are more skillful than great apes at a number of tasks in which they must read human communicative signals indicating the location of hidden food. In this study, we found that wolves who were raised by humans do not show these same skills, whereas domestic dog puppies only a few weeks old, even those that have had little human contact, do show these skills. These findings suggest that during the process of domestication, dogs have been selected for a set of social-cognitive abilities that enable them to communicate with humans in unique ways.

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