Why Do Adult Dogs (Canis familiaris) Commit the A-not-B Search Error?

Sümegi, Zsófia and Vargáné Kis, Anna and Miklósi, Ádám and Topál, József (2014) Why Do Adult Dogs (Canis familiaris) Commit the A-not-B Search Error? Journal of Comparative Psychology, 128 (1). pp. 21-30. ISSN 0735-7036 (print), 1939-2087 (online)

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It has been recently reported that adult domestic dogs, like human infants, tend to commit perseverative search errors; that is, they select the previously rewarded empty location in Piagetian A-not-B search task because of the experimenter’s ostensive communicative cues. There is, however, an ongoing debate over whether these findings reveal that dogs can use the human ostensive referential communication as a source of information or the phenomenon can be accounted for by “more simple” explanations like insufficient attention and learning based on local enhancement. In 2 experiments the authors systematically manipulated the type of human cueing (communicative or noncommunicative) adjacent to the A hiding place during both the A and B trials. Results highlight 3 important aspects of the dogs’ A-not-B error: (a) search errors are influenced to a certain extent by dogs’ motivation to retrieve the toy object; (b) human communicative and noncommunicative signals have different error-inducing effects; and (3) communicative signals presented at the A hiding place during the B trials but not during the A trials play a crucial role in inducing the A-not-B error and it can be induced even without demonstrating repeated hiding events at location A. These findings further confirm the notion that perseverative search error, at least partially, reflects a “ready-to-obey” attitude in the dog rather than insufficient attention and/or working memory.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: dog, A-not-B error, social cognition, communication, motivation
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion / filozófia, pszichológia, vallás > BF Psychology / lélektan > BF08 Comparative psychology / összehasonlító pszichol.
Q Science / természettudomány > QL Zoology / állattan
Depositing User: Dr József Topál
Date Deposited: 22 May 2014 12:45
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2015 12:16

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