Science

Children and Dogs Have the Same Level of Social Intelligence – Study Finds

By Charles Omedo , Mar 01, 2017 12:46 AM EST
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A study published in the journal Animal Behavior by researchers from the University of Arizona suggests that dogs have the same level of social intelligence as two-year-old kids. This research seems to justify why some people regard pet dogs as family members - given their friendliness and social or communication intelligence. The study also seeks to understand if humans and dogs shared the same ancestral evolution.

For the study, the researchers recruited 552 - pet dogs, bomb detection dogs, and assistance dogs under training among others. About 106 chimps from several zoos in Africa were also studied as part of this research. About 105 two-year-old kids were also studied for the research. A number of tests which involved hiding toys and treats and then communicating their locations via suggestive cues such as looking at where the toys were hidden or pointing at the places were used to analyze the subjects' level of social and communication intelligence, UA News wrote.

Dogs and infants are socially intelligent than chimpanzees

According to Evan MacLean, assistant professor in the School of Anthropology in the University of Arizona's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, kids and dogs perform better in social intelligence than chimpanzees. Chimps were able to understand tests about their physical environments, but they never understood suggestive messages such as pointing a finger at a given direction or looking that way. Children and dogs excelled in these areas.

MacLean, who is also the director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center at the University of Arizona, added that dogs and children are good in related things if they are good at anything, but not chimps. He added that this means dogs and humans may have similarities for cooperative social behavior as well as survival of the friendliest, I4U News reports. This could also mean that processes that occurred in human evolution may have also occurred in the evolution of dog domestication.

Dogs and humans may have evolved under the same evolutionary processes

The researchers not dogs and humans may have evolved under the same evolutionary processes - although this is not a popular theory. Humans are believed to be closely linked to chimps, gorillas and bonobos than to dogs. The authors of the study say dogs may never be the best model for mirroring the human mind, but they similar to humans in several aspects of cognitive intuitiveness. The authors equally believe the study could help researchers in understanding autism among other human disabilities that involve deficits in social skills and communications.

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