Freedom of choice vs. undisclosed flexibility: Researcher degrees of freedom in model-based inference

When we talk about statistical modeling, we often encounter the concept of “degrees of freedom.”  Remember?  It’s the n-1 in t[n-1] or the [1] in χ2[1].  In our off-the-shelf statistical procedures, the degrees of freedom refers to the information content of some statistical construct.  It can loosely be thought of as the number of independent […]

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#caninecog: Providing a permanent home for the discussion

During the last 10 days we published a series of posts that discussed the latest research on canine cognition, stimulated by a special issue of the Psychonomic Society’s journal Learning & Behavior. The digital event has now been given a permanent home at this portal, from which you can access all posts. Here is a […]

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From capuchin tantrums to #caninecog: The importance of fairness

Many parents of three- and four-year old children learn very quickly that tantrums can be averted by dividing a cookie into two parts when the child “wants” two cookies or using two cups that are the same size when serving drinks. These tricks mediate the sense of equity or “fairness” that even young humans feel […]

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#caninecog: Loyal to a fault–when obeying deceptive commands may be adaptive

Dogs’ undeniable loyalty to humans has allowed them to carve out a unique niche in our society, quite unlike the status of any other species. Once predominantly utilized as hunting companions and guardians, dogs are now ubiquitous in human life, offering faithful companionship and service. Thanks to their eagerness to cooperate with humans and unquestioning […]

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#caninecog: Theory of mind or theory of attention?

Theory of mind refers to the ability of one person to infer the contents of another person’s mind by observing their behavior.  The concept of theory of mind was advanced by Premack and Woodruff as early as 1978 to explain the behavior of chimpanzees.  In a landmark article, Povinelli, Nelson, and Boysen reported the classic […]

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#caninecog: A world full of strangers—and 1 billion dogs

According to some estimates, there are about 1 billion dogs sharing Planet Earth with us. Most live in largely unrestricted conditions as village or pariah dogs, while only a small percentage of the world’s dog population live independently from humans. Most dogs have to maintain regular connections with humans to share our resources, which is […]

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Sit. Heel. Stay. Come. Help? Exploring the curious relationship with human’s best friend

Looking into the eyes of our new puppy, Kit Kat, it is hard not to feel as if she understands me. While I usually describe myself as a cat person, our family cats have never evoked the same feeling of “understanding” for me as our family dogs have, even though the cats arguably spend much […]

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From “man’s best friend” to “bad dogs”: The broad spectrum of #caninecog

This post was co-authored by Ludwig Huber. We were guest editors of a special issue of Learning & Behavior that is entirely devoted to the cognitive (and sensory) abilities of dogs (Canis lupus familiaris). The articles can be accessed from this landing page for free until 31 December 2018. As far as we know, apart […]

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The English love dogs—but do they own (m)any?

I live on an island that is famous for quite a few things, among them the apparent love affair between its human and canine inhabitants. According to an English journalist writing for a mainstream newspaper, “Many Englishmen reserve their deepest feelings for dogs and other dumb beasts.” (Her words, not mine). According to another journalist, […]

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