A recent study reveals that dogs are much likely to steal food in the dark when humans cannot notice them, indicating they understand a human's perspective.
The study, conducted by Dr. Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth's Department of Psychology, claims that when humans forbid the dog from eating the food, he is four times more likely to steal the food that he was forbidden to eat in the dark. This behavior in dogs reveals that they can change their actions based on what humans think and feel. They take into account what humans can see and what they cannot.
"That's incredible because it implies dogs understand the human can't see them, meaning they might understand the human perspective," Dr. Kaminski said in a press statement.
This study, funded by the Max Planck Society, is the first that describes how dogs distinguish between different levels of light when they are making strategies to steal food. According to Dr. Kaminski, humans attribute a few qualities and emotions to other living things. It is we who think that the dogs are clever or sensitive, not the dogs themselves.
A series of experiments were conducted in different light conditions. In each test, the humans forbade the dog from eating the food. On conducting these tests, she noticed that the dog ate more food in the dark and that too quickly, as compared to when the room was lit.
The study had 42 female and 42 male domestic dogs who were 1-year-old or more. She made sure she selected those dogs that were comfortable without their owner, even if it was a dark room. The report states that the tests were complex and involved many variables to rule out that dogs were basing their decisions on simple associative rules, for example, that dark means food. It is not known how well dogs can see in the dark, but the study shows that they can differentiate between light and dark.
The researcher concludes saying, "The results of these tests suggest that dogs are deciding it's safer to steal the food when the room is dark because they understand something of the human's perspective." Further studies have to be conducted in order to discover the mechanism that controls the dog's behavior. Previous studies have indicated that dogs consider human's eyes as an important signal in deciding how to behave. For those people who are attentive toward dogs, the animal responds more willingly.
One of the great mysteries of life is how it began. What physical process transformed a nonliving mix of chemicals into something as complex as a living cell?
For more than a century, scientists have struggled to reconstruct the key first steps on the road to life. Until recently, their focus has been trained on how the simple building blocks of life might have been synthesized on the early Earth, or perhaps in space. But because it happened so long ago, all chemical traces have long been obliterated, leaving plenty of scope for speculation and disagreement.
Now, a novel approach to the question of life's origin, proposed by two Arizona State University scientists, attempts to dramatically redefine the problem. The researchers - Paul Davies, an ASU Regents' Professor and director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, and Sara Walker, a NASA post-doctoral fellow at the Beyond Center - published their theory in the current issue of the Royal Society journal Interface. Their article is titled "The algorithmic origins of life."
In a nutshell, the authors shift attention from the "hardware" - the chemical basis of life - to the "software" - its information content. To use a computer analogy, chemistry explains the material substance of the machine, but it won't function without a program and data. Davies and Walker suggest that the crucial distinction between non-life and life is the way that living organisms manage the information flowing through the system.
Via Ashish Umre
Academic researchers are one of the few professionals who have to spend a large amount of time throughout their entire career begging for money just to keep the (RT @restokin: My autism intervention project will be in the next round of Scifund's crowdfuning.)...
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