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Rita Lenkei

Bio: Rita Lenkei is an academic researcher from Eötvös Loránd University. The author has contributed to research in topics: Body awareness & Recall. The author has an hindex of 7, co-authored 15 publications receiving 93 citations.

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TL;DR: It is shown that adult, hand-reared wolves, similarly to dogs, form individualized relationship with their handler, suggesting that the ability to form interspecific social bonds could have been present already in the common ancestor of dogs and wolves.
Abstract: Dogs’ attachment towards humans might be the core of their social skillset, yet the origins of their ability to build such a bond are still unclear. Here we show that adult, hand-reared wolves, similarly to dogs, form individualized relationship with their handler. During separation from their handler, wolves, much like family dogs, showed signs of higher-level stress and contact seeking behaviour, compared to when an unfamiliar person left them. They also used their handler as a secure base, suggesting that the ability to form interspecific social bonds could have been present already in the common ancestor of dogs and wolves. We propose that their capacity to form at least some features of attachment with humans may stem from the ability to form social bond with pack members. This might have been then re-directed to humans during early domestication, providing the basis for the evolution of other socio-cognitive abilities in dogs.

21 citations

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TL;DR: In this paper, the authors investigated the vocal response of 25 family dogs with, and 20 family dogs without, owner-reported separation-related disorder (SRD) symptoms to the departure, absence, and return of the owner.

18 citations

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TL;DR: The connection between the owner's permissiveness and the type of emitted vocalisation supports the theory that theOwner's attitude towards the dog can be associated with the dogs' frustration-related SRP signs as they tend to respond with similar behaviours that occur in other frustrating situations.

17 citations

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TL;DR: The combined evidence of representing own actions and using episodic-like memory to recall them suggests a far more complex representation of a key feature of the self than previously attributed to dogs.
Abstract: We investigated whether dogs remember their spontaneous past actions relying on episodic-like memory Dogs were trained to repeat a small set of actions upon request Then we tested them on their ability to repeat other actions produced by themselves, including actions performed spontaneously in everyday situations Dogs repeated their own actions after delays ranging from a few seconds to 1 hour, with their performance showing a decay typical of episodic memory The combined evidence of representing own actions and using episodic-like memory to recall them suggests a far more complex representation of a key feature of the self than previously attributed to dogs Our method is applicable to various species, paving the way for comparative investigations on the evolution and complexity of self-representation

15 citations

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TL;DR: Investigation of the role of obesity and obesity-prone breeds for food responsiveness in dogs found no evidence of breed differences in food responsiveness due to one breed being more prone to obesity than another and overweight dogs tried to maximize food intake from the higher quality food and hesitated to do the task when the food reward was uncertain.
Abstract: Excessive food intake and the resulting excess weight gain is a growing problem in human and canine populations. Dogs, due to their shared living environment with humans, may provide a beneficial model to study the causes and consequences of obesity. Here, we make use of two well-established research paradigms (two-way choice paradigm and cognitive bias test), previously applied with dogs, to investigate the role of obesity and obesity-prone breeds for food responsiveness. We found no evidence of breed differences in food responsiveness due to one breed being more prone to obesity than another. Breed differences found in this study, however, can be explained by working dog status, i.e. whether the dog works in cooperation with, or independently from, humans. Our results also confirm that overweight dogs, as opposed to normal weight dogs, tried to maximize food intake from the higher quality food and hesitated to do the task when the food reward was uncertain. These results are very similar to those expected from the parallel models that exist between certain personality traits and being overweight in humans, suggesting that dogs are indeed a promising model for experimentally investigating obesity in humans.

14 citations


Cited by
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TL;DR: The dog may become an innovative and unique model in comparative neuroscience, complementing more traditional models, and generalizability across dog and dog-human studies is argued.

65 citations

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TL;DR: It is observed that wolves outperformed dogs in their ability to follow causal cues, suggesting that domestication altered specific skills relating to this domain, whereas developmental effects had surprisingly no influence.
Abstract: Cognition is one of the most flexible tools enabling adaptation to environmental variation. Living close to humans is thought to influence social as well as physical cognition of animals throughout domestication and ontogeny. Here, we investigated to what extent physical cognition and two domains of social cognition of dogs have been affected by domestication and ontogeny. To address the effects of domestication, we compared captive wolves (n = 12) and dogs (n = 14) living in packs under the same conditions. To explore developmental effects, we compared these dogs to pet dogs (n = 12) living in human families. The animals were faced with a series of object-choice tasks, in which their response to communicative, behavioural and causal cues was tested. We observed that wolves outperformed dogs in their ability to follow causal cues, suggesting that domestication altered specific skills relating to this domain, whereas developmental effects had surprisingly no influence. All three groups performed similarly in the communicative and behavioural conditions, suggesting higher ontogenetic flexibility in the two social domains. These differences across cognitive domains need to be further investigated, by comparing domestic and non-domesticated animals living in varying conditions.

52 citations

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TL;DR: The results confirm the early emergence of sensitivity to human communication in dogs and contextualize these skills within a broad array of other cognitive abilities measured at the same stage of ontogeny.

28 citations

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TL;DR: This article showed that dogs do not show increased socio-cognitive skills and they are not less aggressive than wolves, whereas wolves seek to avoid conflicts, specifically with higher ranking conspecifics and humans, and might have an increased inclination to follow rules, making them amenable social partners.

24 citations

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TL;DR: It is discovered that flying bumblebees judge the gap between obstacles relative to their wingspan and reorient themselves to fly sideways through tight spaces, suggesting that bees too evaluate the affordance of their surroundings and account for their own size and form to safely navigate through complex environments.
Abstract: Animals that move through complex habitats must frequently contend with obstacles in their path. Humans and other highly cognitive vertebrates avoid collisions by perceiving the relationship between the layout of their surroundings and the properties of their own body profile and action capacity. It is unknown whether insects, which have much smaller brains, possess such abilities. We used bumblebees, which vary widely in body size and regularly forage in dense vegetation, to investigate whether flying insects consider their own size when interacting with their surroundings. Bumblebees trained to fly in a tunnel were sporadically presented with an obstructing wall containing a gap that varied in width. Bees successfully flew through narrow gaps, even those that were much smaller than their wingspans, by first performing lateral scanning (side-to-side flights) to visually assess the aperture. Bees then reoriented their in-flight posture (i.e., yaw or heading angle) while passing through, minimizing their projected frontal width and mitigating collisions; in extreme cases, bees flew entirely sideways through the gap. Both the time that bees spent scanning during their approach and the extent to which they reoriented themselves to pass through the gap were determined not by the absolute size of the gap, but by the size of the gap relative to each bee's own wingspan. Our findings suggest that, similar to humans and other vertebrates, flying bumblebees perceive the affordance of their surroundings relative their body size and form to navigate safely through complex environments.

24 citations