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Your Pet Dog Have 'Episodic Memory' Too, Just Like Humans

Nov 24, 2016 02:39 AM EST
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Have you been naughty or nice to your dog? Either way, he'll remember -- that's for sure.

A recent study published in the Journal of Current Biology has found strong evidence that dogs have "episodic memory," or the amazing ability to recall events from the past, even seemingly unimportant ones at the time it happened, just like their humans.

Claudia Fugazza of MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Budapest, Hungary, says, "The results of our study can be considered as a further step to break down artificially erected barriers between non-human animals and humans. Dogs are among the few species that people consider 'clever,' and yet we are still surprised whenever a study reveals that dogs and their owners may share some mental abilities despite our distant evolutionary relationship."

To test and explore the dogs' memory, researchers took advantage of a trick called "Do as I Do." Dogs trained to "Do as I Do" can watch a person perform an action and then do the same afterwards. For example, if the owner walks two steps forward and then gives the "Do it!" command afterwards, the dog will do exactly the same.

They tested each of the subject dog using the said technique after one minute and after one hour. The results show they were able to recall the demonstrated actions after both short and long time intervals. However, their memory faded somewhat over time, stated an article by the Science Daily.

"From a broad evolutionary perspective, this implies that episodic-like memory is not unique and did not evolve only in primates but is a more widespread skill in the animal kingdom," Fugazza says.

"We suggest that dogs may provide a good model to study the complexity of episodic-like memory in a natural setting, especially because this species has the evolutionary and developmental advantage to live in human social groups."

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