Project properties

Title Animal cognition: dogs' understanding of human knowledge
Group Behavioural Ecology
Project type thesis
Credits 12-36
Supervisor(s) Bonne Beerda, Jori Noordenbos
Examiner(s) Bonne Beerda
Contact info;
Begin date 2022/09/01
End date 2025/09/01
Description Dogs are outstandingly skillful in understanding humans. They understand simple gestures even when they are not/minimally socialized, something great apes or wolves can only do after excessive training. Dogs have also shown to understand our attentive states (what and when do we see something) and perspectives. According to some, dogs therefore likely possess a 'theory of mind' (ToM). Theory of mind is the understanding that others have goals, desires and knowledge different than your own. Understanding that others may see different things (understanding of perspective) is the first step in this. But it is of yet unclear if dogs also understand that seeing something leads to specific knowledge. To test dogs' understanding of human knowledge we are looking for motivated students to collect data using an already existing protocol, or students who can come up with new innovative ways of testing the understanding of human knowledge in dogs. Combining this with a study into the dogs' personalities or the owners' parenting styles for instance would also be possible.
Used skills