The Magic Cup: Great Apes and Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) Individuate Objects According to Their Properties

Juliane Braeuer*, Josep Call

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite current interest in dog (Canis familiaris) cognition, very little is known about how dogs represent objects and how they compare with other species, such as the great apes. Therefore, we investigated how dogs and great apes (chimpanzees [Pan troglodytes], bonobos [Pan paniscus], orangutans [Pongo pygmaeus], gorillas [Gorilla gorilla]) individuate objects in a classical violation of expectation paradigm. We used a container (magic cup) with a double bottom that allowed us to change the type of food that subjects had seen being placed in the container. Using a 2 X 2 design, we varied whether subjects received a generally preferred food and whether the food was substituted (surprise trials) or not (baseline trials). Apes showed increased begging and looking behaviors and dogs showed increased smelling behavior. Both species stayed near the experimenter more frequently in the surprise trials compared with baseline trials. Both species reacted to positive (i.e., good food substituted for bad food) and negative (i.e., bad food substituted for good food) surprises. These results suggest that apes and dogs were able to individuate objects according to their properties or type in comparable ways. In addition, we looked for frustration and elation effects, but subjects' behaviors were not influenced by the food they saw and which they received in previous trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-361
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume125
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

Keywords

  • object individuation
  • frustration effect
  • primates
  • domestic dogs
  • INVISIBLE DISPLACEMENT
  • INEQUITY AVERSE
  • MACACA-MULATTA
  • MONKEYS
  • LANGUAGE
  • TASK
  • COMMUNICATION
  • FRUSTRATION
  • CHIMPANZEES
  • BEHAVIOR

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