Dogs, Canis familiaris, fail to copy intransitive actions in third-party contextual imitation tasks

Claudio Tennie*, Eileen Glabsch, Sebastian Tempelmann, Juliane Braeuer, Juliane Kaminski, Josep Call

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Contextual imitation of intransitive actions within a third-party copying setting was tested in 180 household dogs. A demonstrator dog, in sight of observer dogs, performed one of two trained actions upon hearing verbal commands given by an experimenter. Observer dogs were later tested to see whether they produced more target actions than control groups who had not seen demonstrations of those actions. In all conditions, except one, the demonstrated actions had been previously trained in the observer dogs by their owners, but had been attached to a different verbal command to that used in our study. For these 'pretrained' actions we further investigated whether reward contingency, the relationship of the dog to the human experimenter and ostensive cues had an effect. In no condition did we find any contextual imitation. A subsample of all tested dogs had, during their lifetimes, received extensive training in a diverse range of tasks outside of social learning, but this background similarly did not lead to contextual imitation. We conclude that dogs, even when highly trained, fail to show evidence of contextual imitation for intransitive actions within a third-party copying paradigm. (C) 2009 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1491-1499
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume77
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

Keywords

  • action copying
  • Canid
  • Canis familiaris
  • contextual imitation
  • cultural transmission
  • dog
  • enculturation
  • gesture copying
  • response facilitation
  • social learning
  • SOCIAL COGNITION
  • DOMESTIC DOGS
  • CULTURAL TRANSMISSION
  • HUMAN DEMONSTRATOR
  • YOUNG CHIMPANZEES
  • DETOUR TASK
  • BEHAVIOR
  • PIGEONS
  • HUMANS
  • WOLVES

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