This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Position Bias Interferes with Auditory Same/Different Abstract-Concept Learning by Dogs




Thompkins, Andrea

Type of Degree





Canine cognition is a growing area of research, however the domestic dog’s ability to utilize a same/different abstract concept has yet to be explored. In Experiment 1, six domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) were trained on a same/different task using auditory stimuli, including human, animal, environment, and effects sounds. A novel apparatus for dogs was designed and constructed to allow nose poke responses to be recorded during automated sessions. Training sessions were administered daily and consisted of 24 trials (12 same, 12 different). Four of six dogs learned to respond in the task but did not reach same/different discrimination criterion. Experiment 2 continued acquisition training with four novel sounds used as the stimulus set. Center panel responding and a suspected spatial response bias led to experiment termination. Experiment 3 introduced a panel spacing manipulation and revealed that comparison responding was controlled by panel location. The study was halted and plans were made for solutions to the task limitations. The results and discussed future directions of these experiments add to the canine cognition literature and potentially lay the ground work for exploring abstract-concept learning in canines.