Dog-Human Social Interactions: Old Wine in New Bottles?

Dog-Human Social Interactions: Old Wine in New Bottles?

25feb12:00 pm1:30 pmDog-Human Social Interactions: Old Wine in New Bottles?

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Dog-human social interaction: Old wine in new bottles?

For longer than we can remember dogs and humans have been friends. While both humanity and dogs benefited from this relationship, science has not shown any interest in the “Whys” and “How-s” until recently. However, the last 15 years have pushed the dog into the middle ground of comparative investigations that aim to understand the evolution and mechanisms of social behavior.

In this presentation I will present a simple descriptive model for convergent behavioral evolution of dog social behavior in the anthropogenic environment. The central example will describe how in a very simple way dogs may have adapted to the pedagogical nature of humans. We have good experimental evidence that dogs can be attracted to human communicative intent, to human referential signals, and may learn about the referent. Parallel work has shown that this ability shows strong parallels to early pedagogical interaction between human infants and caregivers but rests probably on different mechanisms. In any case, the dogs’ receptiveness to human social signals enhances their survival in our social niche.

Based on these findings we can put forward a more general model of social behavior in the case of inter-specific relationships, introducing the concept of social competence. It turns out that this may be particularly useful in recent research which is aimed to envisage a “new world” of human-artificial agent social interaction.



(Friday) 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm(GMT+00:00)


Haines Hall 352

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