Generalize or personalize--do dogs transfer an acquired rule to novel situations and persons?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Recent studies have raised the question of whether dogs, like human infants, comprehend an established rule as generalizable, normative knowledge or rather as episodic information, existing only in the immediate situation. In the current study we tested whether dogs disobeyed a prohibition to take a treat (i) in the presence of the communicator of the ban, (ii) after a temporary absence of the communicator, and (iii) in the presence of a novel person. Dogs disobeyed the rule significantly more often when the communicator left the room for a moment or when they were faced with a new person, than when she stayed present in the room. These results indicate that dogs "forget" a rule as soon as the immediate human context becomes disrupted.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hertel, A; Kaminski, J; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • January 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 7

Start / End Page

  • e102666 -

PubMed ID

  • 25029253

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25029253

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0102666

Language

  • eng