Auditory–Visual Matching of Conspecifics and Non-Conspecifics by Dogs and Human Infants
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1117 Budapest, Hungary
Faculty of Education and Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, 1064 Budapest, Hungary
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 17 December 2018 / Accepted: 2 January 2019 / Published: 7 January 2019
Comparative investigations on infants’ and dogs’ social and communicative skills revealed striking similarity, which can be attributed to convergent evolutionary and domestication processes. Using a suitable experimental method that allows systematic and direct comparisons of dogs and humans is essential. In the current study, we used non-invasive eye-tracking technology in order to investigate looking behaviour of dogs and human infants in an auditory–visual matching task. We found a similar gazing pattern in the two species when they were presented with pictures and vocalisations of a dog and a female human, that is, both dogs and infants looked longer at the dog portrait during the dog’s bark, while matching human speech with the human face was less obvious. Our results suggested different mechanisms underlying this analogous behaviour and highlighted the importance of future investigations into cross-modal cognition in dogs and humans.