Like Humans, Dogs Know When They Don’t Know Enough To Make A Decision

Breakthrough discovers dogs' metacognitive trait

Image Credits: DAGOR53 / Wikimedia Commons.

Your dog may be more of a super sleuth than you realize. A new study finds that dogs will seek more information if they know they don’t have enough facts to make a decision, much like humans and chimpanzees.

This ability, according to researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, is called a “metacognitive” trait.

For the study, researchers sought to determine whether dogs are aware of information they’ve learned and when they need to know more before taking action. They recruited 48 dogs from a spectrum of ages, young and old, who had received typical obedience training. The authors designed a test for the dogs that required them to find a reward — a treat or a toy — hidden behind one of two v-shaped fences. Some dogs were allowed to see where the reward was hidden, while others were not.

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