This experiment was aimed at studying the allocation of attention to social and non-social stimuli by family dogs. Twelve dogs underwent a test involving the simultaneous presentation of two stimuli as described by Mongillo and collaborators (2010). In the present study, the test was run with three different pairs of stimuli: two strangers (SS); two strangers, one of which visibly carrying the dog's leash (SL); a stranger and the owner (SO). Moreover, a fourth test was run with the owner as the only stimulus present (O). A generalized mixed model was used to compare the length of gaze bouts (GBL) and the total time of looking (% of task time, TLT) between the two stimuli within each condition and to the relevant stimulus (owner or leash) between conditions. In the SS condition attention was equally distributed between the two stimuli (GBL: P = 0.712; TLT: P = 0.624). By contrast, a preferential attentional response towards the relevant stimulus was observed in both SL (TLT: P = 0.005) and SO conditions (GBL: P < 0.001; TLT: P < 0.001). Between conditions, attention to the relevant stimulus was lower in SL than in either SO (GBL: P < 0.001; TLT: P < 0.001) or O conditions (GBL: P < 0.001; TLT: P < 0.001). No difference was found in attention to the owner between O and SO (GBL: P < 0.93; TLT: P < 0.11). Results suggest that dogs give preferential attention to relevant social and non-social stimuli, although social ones are more effective in eliciting a preferential response. Moreover, attention to relevant social stimuli seems scarcely affected by the presence of distractors.

Attention to social and non-social stimuli in family dogs

MONGILLO, PAOLO;PITTERI, ELISA;ADAMELLI, SERENA;MARINELLI, LIETA
2013

Abstract

This experiment was aimed at studying the allocation of attention to social and non-social stimuli by family dogs. Twelve dogs underwent a test involving the simultaneous presentation of two stimuli as described by Mongillo and collaborators (2010). In the present study, the test was run with three different pairs of stimuli: two strangers (SS); two strangers, one of which visibly carrying the dog's leash (SL); a stranger and the owner (SO). Moreover, a fourth test was run with the owner as the only stimulus present (O). A generalized mixed model was used to compare the length of gaze bouts (GBL) and the total time of looking (% of task time, TLT) between the two stimuli within each condition and to the relevant stimulus (owner or leash) between conditions. In the SS condition attention was equally distributed between the two stimuli (GBL: P = 0.712; TLT: P = 0.624). By contrast, a preferential attentional response towards the relevant stimulus was observed in both SL (TLT: P = 0.005) and SO conditions (GBL: P < 0.001; TLT: P < 0.001). Between conditions, attention to the relevant stimulus was lower in SL than in either SO (GBL: P < 0.001; TLT: P < 0.001) or O conditions (GBL: P < 0.001; TLT: P < 0.001). No difference was found in attention to the owner between O and SO (GBL: P < 0.93; TLT: P < 0.11). Results suggest that dogs give preferential attention to relevant social and non-social stimuli, although social ones are more effective in eliciting a preferential response. Moreover, attention to relevant social stimuli seems scarcely affected by the presence of distractors.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/2679866
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