Les chiens, capable de categorisation !

Remarquable !

clipped from www.newscientist.com

Next time you sort through your holiday photos, maybe your dog could lend a hand. It seems dogs can place photographs into categories the same way humans do, an ability previously identified only in birds and primates.

Four dogs were simultaneously shown photographs of a landscape and of a dog, and were rewarded if they selected the latter using a paw-operated computer (Image: Huber et al / Springer)

Four dogs were simultaneously shown photographs of a landscape and of a dog, and were rewarded if they selected the latter using a paw-operated computer (Image: Huber et al / Springer)

Friederike Range at the University of Vienna, Austria, and colleagues trained dogs to distinguish photographs that depicted dogs from those that did not. « We know they can categorise ‘food’ or ‘enemies’ from experience, » says Range, « but this is the first time we’ve taught them an abstract concept – ‘a dog’ – and shown they can transfer this knowledge to a new situation. »

« We are starting to see that dogs have some good reasoning abilities, » says Range. « I hope this might impact how we treat them at home. »