科学美国人 | 什么才叫聪明的狗狗?

2019-10-06     军事

An estimate of dog intelligence requires looking at non-dogs as well to understand what’s special to canines and what is just typical of the taxonomic groups they’re in.


If you have a dog, you’ve probably tried to train it. The basics, like sit and stay. Plus, of course, not to go to the bathroom on your rugs. And if your dog learns things quickly, you might start to think it’s really smart. 

如果你有一只狗,你可能会尝试训练它一些基本知识,例如:坐下来。 当然还包括告诉狗狗不要踩着地毯去卧室。 如果你的狗能快速学会指令,你可能会认为它非常聪明。 

But: “If you really want to know about dog intelligence, you have to look at non-dogs as well to understand what’s special to dogs and what is just typical of groups they belong to.”


Stephen Lea, a retired professor of psychology from the University of Exeter in the U.K. He and colleagues looked at dog intelligence in an animal intelligence context for a report in the journal Learning & Behavior. (Stephen EG Lea and Britta Osthaus, In what sense are dogs special? Canine cognition in comparative context)

来自英国埃克塞特大学心理学的退休教授斯蒂芬·利亚及其同事在基于动物智商研究的背景下着眼于狗智商的研究,并在《学习与行为》杂志上发表了一篇报道。(Stephen EG Lea和Britta Osthaus合著,《从什么角度而言,狗具有特殊性?比较视角下的犬类认知研究》)

Lea and his team looked at hundreds of published studies to compare dog cognition with that of other animals. They found that dogs are adept at picking up on social cues.

利亚和他的团队研究了数百篇已发表的研究论文,用以比较狗的认知与其他动物的认知的区别。 他们发现,相比其它动物,狗更擅长领会一些社交暗号。

“They’re good, for example, at using human pointing or following human gaze, looking at what you’re looking at. We’re not saying dogs aren’t good at those tasks, they are. What we were saying is that there are some other animals that are just as good at them.”


Like bottlenose dolphins and gray seals.


“It’s not something that’s unique to dogs or indeed that unexpected in dogs, given the sorts of animals dogs are. Namely, they’re domesticated, They’re derived from social hunters. And important, they’re carnivores. They belong to a big group of mammals that also includes cats, hyenas, otters, bears, and also the seals and sea lions, which we sometimes forget about. But which, of course, are also very easy to train despite not being domestic.”

“这不是狗独有的东西,实际上,从狗狗所属于的动物类群来说,上述特点其实是狗狗意外获得的优势。 也就是说,它们被驯化了,它们来源于一群社会性的狩猎者。 而且重要的是,他们是食肉动物。 它们属于一个哺乳动物的大群体,其中还包括猫、鬣狗、水獭、熊、还有海豹和海狮,我们有时会忽略它们。 这些动物,尽管不能被完全驯化,但这也很容易被训练。”

And while dog cognition may not actually be exceptional, their noses definitely are: “Their sense of smell…the extraordinary things that they can discriminate, like which of two identical twins they’re looking at or sniffing at.”


Lea also points out there are some tasks that dogs apparently cannot do, such as use tools or exhibit self-awareness. 


But: “There’s always the possibility that someone, somewhere is at this moment demonstrating that a dog can do something that we said it couldn’t. And, because you can’t prove a negative, so we could be wrong…in some sense, one reason why we wrote the paper was to challenge our colleagues to, okay, show us the evidence. Find a dog that will do these things and we’ll happily change our minds. We’re not, oh, I can feel the word coming: we’re not dogmatic.”

但:“总有可能,某个人在某个地方此刻正在证明狗可以做一些我们说不能做的事情。 并且,因为你无法证明狗是不可能做的,所以我们可能是错的......在某种意义上,我们撰写论文的一个原因是要向我们的同事提出挑战,促使他们向我们展示证据来推翻我们。 找到一只会做这些事情的狗,我们会愉快地改变主意。 我们并不是,哦,我能感受到这个词:我们不是教条主义者。”