Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dogs have human-like sense of morality, research shows

Researchers at Kyoto University's department of psychology in Japan have worked out that dogs - as well as some species of monkey - have an almost human-like sense of morality.

During a series of experiments, they found that our canine chums were less likely to interact with anyone they perceive as acting rudely or unfairly.

One experiment involved watching a dog watching two people (one of which was its owner) arrive with three balls each. One asked the other for their balls and, in some cases, that person obliged - handing over all their balls. Next, the person who had given up their balls asked for them back - again, sometimes the person obliged and other times they declined.

Following this exchange, the dogs were offered treats by both parties. And the researchers found that the dogs were less inclined to accept treats from the person they had observed as being selfish.

The researchers claim both the dogs and the capuchin monkeys that were also tested, made social judgements similar to those that a human might make.

More at the Link


edutcher said...

"One asked the other for their balls"

That would kill it right there.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Swap out the word "morality" for "trust" would be my advice.

Methadras said...

Oh, I believe that dogs have a sense of right vs wrong vs a sense of morality. They know when they do things that are good because it gets them some kind of a reward; food, a pet, a kind word from their human. As opposed to doing wrong which earns them a bout of negative reinforcement and correction which in many ways they don't like and you can see it. The ears go back, their heads go down. A perfect example of this is a dog named Dakota I think in a youtube video this gold or white lab ate a cat treats and the owner filmed chastising his dog and you can see the dog is utterly guilty and in distress and knows that it is being scolded. It's quite sad to see actually and makes me want to reach in and hug him.

rhhardin said...

For dogs' moral sense, see Vicki Hearne _Adam's Task_ the essays on Washoe and How To Say Fetch.

Ignore the cover blurb, written by some babe who didn't get it.

Vicki Hearne is the rare woman who could write.

Amartel said...

I saw an experiment on a tv show where there were two dogs and one dog was offered a treat and the other was not, repeatedly. The second dog definitely knew there was unfairness going on and was confused, tried to bargain, and then sulked, wouldn't look at the treat dispenser.