Published October 5, 2021 | Version v1
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Cooperative communication with humans evolved to emerge early in domestic dogs

  • 1. Duke University
  • 2. Pennsylvania State University
  • 3. Wildlife Science Center*
  • 4. Canine Companions for Independence*
  • 5. University of Arizona
  • 6. North Carolina State University
  • 7. University of Leiden*
  • 8. Brigham Young University
  • 9. Princeton University

Description

While we know that dogs evolved from wolves, it remains unclear how domestication affected dog cognition. One hypothesis suggests dog domestication altered social maturation by a process of selecting for an attraction to humans. Under this account, dogs became more flexible in using inherited skills to cooperatively-communicate with a new social partner that was previously feared and expressed these unusual social skills early in development. Here we tested dog (N=44) and wolf (N=37) puppies, 5-18 weeks old, on a battery of temperament and cognition tasks. We found that dog puppies were more attracted to humans, read human gestures more skillfully, and made more eye contact with humans than wolf puppies. The two species were similarly attracted to objects and performed similarly on nonsocial measures of memory and inhibitory control. These results are consistent with the idea that domestication enhanced the cooperative-communicative abilities of dogs as selection for attraction to humans altered social maturation.

Notes

The zipped folder contains all the data and R codes (commented for clarity) used for analysis of each test in the battery.  These data files have been updated (on September 30, 2021) to ensure that the names are consistent across all files - specifically, four individuals (now "HoneyPockets", "LittleMan", "Wade", and CCI10" across all data sets) had some inconsistencies in spelling and spacing in their names in the previous data files. It also contains a README file further explaining the content. 

Funding provided by: Office of Naval Research
Crossref Funder Registry ID: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000006
Award Number: N00014-16-12682

Funding provided by: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Crossref Funder Registry ID: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100009633
Award Number: NIH-1Ro1HD097732

Funding provided by: National Science Foundation
Crossref Funder Registry ID: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000001
Award Number: DGE-1746060

Funding provided by: American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation
Crossref Funder Registry ID: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100001458
Award Number: 2700

Funding provided by: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development*
Crossref Funder Registry ID: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100009633
Award Number: NIH-1Ro1HD097732

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Dog_Puppy_Eye_Contact_Example.mp4

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Additional details

Related works

Is cited by
10.1101/2021.01.12.425620 (DOI)
Is derived from
10.5061/dryad.2547d7wqm (DOI)