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An attempt to test whether dogs (Canis familiaris) show increased preference towards humans who match their behaviour

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Bräuer,  Juliane
Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Belger,  Julia
Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Silva, K., Bräuer, J., de Sousa, L., Lima, M., O’Hara, R., Belger, J., et al. (2020). An attempt to test whether dogs (Canis familiaris) show increased preference towards humans who match their behaviour. Journal of Ethology, 38, 223-232. doi:10.1007/s10164-020-00644-4.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-5AA4-B
Abstract
Studies suggest that being mimicked can positively affect human social interactions, not only in adults but also in children and even in individuals with atypical social competences. Outside of the human species, however, little is still known about this so-called ‘social glue function’ of mimicry; with only two studies—both on primates—testing whether other animals can show increased affiliation towards humans who mimic them. The present paper provides two pioneer studies on whether dogs—a domesticated species strongly attached to humans—show increased preference toward humans who display matching behaviour (walking). Results from both studies, including several tests, evidenced no preference of dogs for the human experimenter who matched the dogs’ walk. Methodological issues are discussed and a number of new routes of experimentation are proposed that we hope will prove valuable for future studies.