maximal stimulation of minimal, frictionless thought

May 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

maximal-stimulation-010513

In the first experiment, one side of the tunnel was clear and the other side was opaque. During the training, dogs were switched between clear and opaque tunnels so they would not have a preference for one or the other. The experimenter began by placing a piece of food in the tunnel in full view of the dog, and giving an instruction. In the first condition, they told the dog ‘No’, the food was forbidden, and then stood in a set location where they could see the tunnel but the dog could not see them. In the second condition, they told the dog ‘No’, and then left the room. In the final condition, they told the dog that it was allowed the food, as a test of motivation.

The dogs’ behaviour was videotaped and analyzed in terms of the length of time before the dog approached the tunnel, and the side which it approached. The results showed no differences between the conditions, and no preference for either the opaque or clear side of the tunnel.

So the dogs did not act differently in the case where the experimenter could see them, but they could not see the experimenter…

In the second experiment, auditory information was used instead. On one side of the tunnel there was a flat mat that did not make noise, and on the other side there was a mat made of crinkly material that was noisy when the dog trod on it. The dogs were trained using both mats, so they would not have a preference for one or the other. Again there were three conditions: the dog was told ‘no’ and the experimenter stood in a set location with their eyes closed; the dog was told ‘no’ and the experimenter left the room; or the dog was told the food was allowed.

This time, dogs showed a clear preference for the side of the tunnel with the silent mat when the experimenter was in the room. In the other two conditions, they had no preference for the silent or noisy side.

The authors conclude that “when taking forbidden food from a tunnel, the dogs preferred to be silent, but not to be hidden.” It seems the dogs took an egocentric approach in the visual condition, assuming that because they could not see the experimenter, she could not see them.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Francisco Garcia Ramirez

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