Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

July 23, 2013

Your dog is a copycat

(Continued)

To see how long the dogs retained the memory, the owners were then asked to add another step to the test. After saying "Do it!", they walked their pets behind a screen 14 meters away that hid the cone or other experimental objects, so that the animals wouldn't continue to look at them. Then they waited for up to 30 seconds before returning to the starting position. "We just kept slowly increasing the time between the demonstration and the 'Do it!' command," Fugazza explains.

Once the dogs could imitate the behavior twice in a row after waiting for 30 seconds, they were ready for the testing phase. Each dog was given 19 tests in eight different conditions-including copying a familiar action, a novel action, and a distracting action. All the dogs were shown the same novel action to imitate: Each one watched her owner enter a wooden box. This time, they were expected to wait behind the screen for one full minute, before returning to the starting position and being told "Do it!" For the distracting action tests, the dogs watched the owner do something they had seen before. Again, they were led behind the screen, but this time commanded to lie down, or fetch a ball. The waiting periods during these sessions lasted from 30 seconds to 4 minutes.

The dogs endured their longest breaks after watching a familiar action-with times varying from 24 seconds to 10 minutes. "They can wait even longer," Fugazza says, "but we really don't expect the owners to stay behind the screen for an hour!" The dogs also showed their smarts by repeating the action that they'd witnessed, even when a person other than the demonstrator and who did not know which action the dog was expected to copy gave the "Do it!" command. All the dogs completed 18 trials, scoring almost perfect marks; six dogs made one error each, one dog made two, and another made six mistakes, the team reports this month in Animal Cognition. "The statistical results are very robust," Fugazza says, "and they show the dogs can do deferred imitation." This suggests, she adds, that dogs have declarative memory-long-term memory about facts and events that can be consciously recalled. Until now, only humans have been shown to have this type of memory.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.12.33 PM.png Gunshots narrowly miss TV reporter

    A reporter for a West Virginia television station narrowly escaped injury or worse Monday while covering a fatal weekend shooting in Beckley.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks