Just like their owners, dogs can form abstract concepts and can be seen as very intelligent companions. Scientists at the University of Vienna have shown that dogs can classify complex color photographs in their brain and place them into categories in the same way that humans do. Furthermore, the dogs successfully learned through the use of computer automated touchscreens! Isn’t it incredible?
The scientists and reserachers showed dogs pictures of landscapes and of dogs on a touchscreen and were rewarded with a food tread if they selected the dog picture. In other words they conditioned the dogs to be able to analyse and understand how their brain processes were acting.
Then came the tests: in the first test, the dogs were shown pictures of dogs and landscapes separately and they continued to select the dog photographs. They transferred their knowledge to a new set of visual stimuli, even though they had never seen the new pictures before.
In the second test in the experiment, these selected dogs were shown new dog pictures pasted onto the landscape pictures used in the training phase. This combined new positive stimuli (the new dog pictures) with negative stimuli (the landscapes) and created the different with the first test that was conducted to see what were the implications of these alterations.
When the dogs were faced with choosing between the new dog on the familiar landscape and a completely new landscape with no dog, they consistently selected the option with the dog. They were able to form the concept of “dog” and were able to transfer this concept to a new setting. They could somehow memorize this information in their brain.
Now those are smart dogs and it proves that if you actually take good care of your dog or of any other animal, you can actually get incredible results as they can be resourceful too!