Having always had a pet in my life (that’s my pup to the right), Iâ€™ve often wondered about the cognitive and emotional abilities of animals. The prevailing wisdom has been that most of the anthropomorphic characteristics we see in our pets are projection. But my dog seems to love me, or at least be affectionate. And she understands that certain labels apply to certain actions. How can I really know the extent of what she feels and understands?
NPR discussed this issue yesterday in an article entitled Dogs Understand Fairness, Get Jealous, Study Finds. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, studied the existence of jealousy in dogs by giving unequal rewards for the same behavior. The study found that dogs that were previously happy to perform tricks for mere praise, stopped cooperating when other dogs were given treats for the same behavior. Sulking, it would seem.
How â€œhuman-likeâ€ do you think the cognitive and emotional abilities of our pets are?
(Feel free to use articles, studies, or just personal experience/opinion.)