5-speed listening (Self-awareness - Level 6)

Dogs may be self-aware



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Have you ever wondered what animals think about? A team of scientists explored this question by investigating whether dogs have self-awareness. Researchers from a university in Hungary set out to determine whether canines have a sense of self and of body awareness. Researcher Peter Pongracz explained why his team conducted the study. He said: "Self-awareness is a rather poorly investigated area of dog cognition." He added: "Body awareness is a mental capacity to organize someone's action by taking in consideration their own body exists." His test put dogs in situations that would make them aware of their body position. The study is published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

The scientists conducted tests on 54 dogs. The dogs had to respond to commands from their owners. Researchers attached a toy to a mat and asked the dog to give the toy to its owner. The dog had to understand it would be unable to take the toy to its owner unless it got off the mat first. Many of the dogs understood the issue and got off the mat to complete the task. The researchers said this showed a sense of body awareness. They wrote that body awareness is, "the ability to hold information about one's own body in mind, as an explicit object, in relation to other objects in the world". They said this is "one of the fundamental building blocks of self-representation" and that the dogs in the tests exhibited this.

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Self-awareness - Level 4  |  Self-awareness - Level 5

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