Dogs distinguish between intentional and unintentional action

Over their long shared history, dogs have developed a range of skills for bonding with human beings. Their ability to make sense of human actions, demonstrated by every “sit,” “lay down,” and “roll over,” is just one such skill. But whether dogs understand human intentions, or merely respond to outcomes, remains unclear. The ability to recognize another’s intentions—or at least conceive of them—is a basic component of theory of mind, the ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others, long regarded as uniquely human. Do dogs have this basic component of theory of mind, the ability to tell the difference between something done on purpose and something done by accident?

This post was originally published on this site