Cross-modal perception of puppies and adult conspecifics in dogs (Canis familiaris)

Kawaguchi, Y. ORCID: 0000-0002-6682-4964, 2024. Cross-modal perception of puppies and adult conspecifics in dogs (Canis familiaris). Journal of Comparative Psychology. ISSN 0735-7036 (Forthcoming)

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Understanding conspecifics’ age classes is crucial for animals, facilitating adaptive behavioral responses to their social environment. This may include gathering and integrating information through multiple modalities. Using a cross-modal preferential looking paradigm, we investigated whether dogs possess a cross-modal mental representation of conspecific age classes. In Experiment 1, dogs were presented with images of an adult dog and a puppy projected side-by-side on a wall while a vocalization of either an adult dog or a puppy was played back simultaneously. To test the effect of relative body size between adult dog and puppy images, two size conditions (natural size and same size) were employed for visual stimuli. We examined dogs’ looking behavior in response to cross-modally matched versus mismatched stimuli. We predicted that if dogs have cross-modal representations of age classes, they would exhibit prolonged attention towards matched images compared to mismatched ones. In Experiment 2, we administered the same paradigm within an eye-tracking experiment to further improve the measurement quality of dogs’ looking times. However, dogs’ looking times in either experiment did not demonstrate significant differences based on the match or mismatch between image and vocalization. Instead, we observed a size effect, indicating dogs’ increased attention towards larger adult dog images compared to smaller puppy images. Consequently, we found no evidence of cross-modal representation of age class in dogs. Nonetheless, we found increased looking time and pupil size upon hearing puppy vocalizations compared to adult vocalizations in Experiment 2, suggesting that dogs exhibited heightened arousal when hearing puppy whining.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Creators: Kawaguchi, Y.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Date: 18 March 2024
ISSN: 0735-7036
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 28 Jun 2024 09:27
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 09:27

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