A recent study from the University of Eotvos Lorànd’s Department of Ethology has explored how dogs interpret human gestures in relation to spatial bias. The researchers found that dogs pay attention not only to the location of an object, but also its appearance, suggesting a similarity in information processing to humans.
Spatial bias refers to the interpretation of information in relation to space. For example, when we show children and dogs the location of an object, children interpret the gesture as an indication of the object while dogs take it as a direction. This study examined this phenomenon in detail, testing 82 dogs in behavioral tasks evaluating their ability to learn the location of a reward relative to the characteristics of an object.
The results showed that “smarter” dogs learned faster, suggesting a connection between their cognitive abilities and their ability to interpret information more detail. To understand whether spatial bias is related to a sensory or cognitive issue, the researchers measured the dogs’ head length, which correlates with visual acuity, and subjected them to cognitive tests.
The results revealed that dogs with better visual and cognitive abilities showed a reduced “spatial bias”. This study sheds light on our four-legged friends’ minds, suggesting that their ability to interpret information goes beyond simple vision, leading to new perspectives on understanding how dogs think.