Oct
31
2016

Dogs are one of the most common household pets in the world but we know little about their cognitive abilities. Over the last couple decades, however, researchers have been aiming to bridge this gap in scientific knowledge, investigating how our canine companions behave and what they know and why. And a new literature review captures that.

The October issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, the journal of the Association for Psychological Science, provides an overview of what psychological scientists have learned about dog behavior and cognition in recent years.

The special issue offers a review of the literature related to understanding the mental and social capacities of dogs, including dogs’ attention to communicative cues, their recognition of individual faces, and their ability to discriminate between a range of emotions.

“Although dogs had not been considered worthy of research for their own sake for many years, the situation has changed dramatically in the past decade,” write Gregory S. Berns, MD, PhD, and Peter F. Cook, PhD, both of Emory University. “There is now a veritable renaissance in canine behavioral research.”

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