Comparison of dogs and humans in visual scanning of social interaction

Heini Törnqvist*, Sanni Somppi, Aija Koskela, Christina M. Krause, Outi Vainio, Miiamaaria V. Kujala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated similarities in gazing behaviour of dogs and humans, but comparisons under similar conditions are rare, and little is known about dogs' visual attention to social scenes. Here, we recorded the eye gaze of dogs while they viewed images containing two humans or dogs either interacting socially or facing away: the results were compared with equivalent data measured from humans. Furthermore, we compared the gazing behaviour of two dog and two human populations with different social experiences: family and kennel dogs; dog experts and non-experts. Dogs' gazing behaviour was similar to humans: both species gazed longer at the actors in social interaction than in non-social images. However, humans gazed longer at the actors in dog than human social interaction images, whereas dogs gazed longer at the actors in human than dog social interaction images. Both species also made more saccades between actors in images representing non-conspecifics, which could indicate that processing social interaction of non-conspecifics may be more demanding. Dog experts and non-experts viewed the images very similarly. Kennel dogs viewed images less than family dogs, but otherwise their gazing behaviour did not differ, indicating that the basic processing of social stimuli remains similar regardless of social experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number150341
Number of pages9
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume2
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Domestic dog
  • Eye movement
  • Eye tracking
  • Social interaction

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