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Oxytocin enhances the appropriate use of human social cues by the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) in an object choice task

Oliva, J.L., Rault, J.-L., Appleton, B. and Lill, A. 2015, Oxytocin enhances the appropriate use of human social cues by the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) in an object choice task, Animal cognition, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 767-775, doi: 10.1007/s10071-015-0843-7.

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Title Oxytocin enhances the appropriate use of human social cues by the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) in an object choice task
Formatted title Oxytocin enhances the appropriate use of human social cues by the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) in an object choice task
Author(s) Oliva, J.L.
Rault, J.-L.
Appleton, B.
Lill, A.
Journal name Animal cognition
Volume number 18
Issue number 3
Start page 767
End page 775
Total pages 9
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2015-05
ISSN 1435-9456
Keyword(s) Cognition
Cues
Dog
Oxytocin
Social
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Behavioral Sciences
Zoology
HUMAN POINTING GESTURES
LOCATE HIDDEN FOOD
COMMUNICATIVE SIGNALS
AFFILIATIVE BEHAVIOR
COMPREHENSION
WOLVES
GAZE
Summary It has been postulated that the neuropeptide, oxytocin, is involved in human-dog bonding. This may explain why dogs, compared to wolves, are such good performers on object choice tasks, which test their ability to attend to, and use, human social cues in order to find hidden food treats. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of intranasal oxytocin administration, which is known to increase social cognition in humans, on domestic dogs' ability to perform such a task. We hypothesised that dogs would perform better on the task after an intranasal treatment of oxytocin. Sixty-two (31 males and 31 females) pet dogs completed the experiment over two different testing sessions, 5-15 days apart. Intranasal oxytocin or a saline control was administered 45 min before each session. All dogs received both treatments in a pseudo-randomised, counterbalanced order. Data were collected as scores out of ten for each of the four blocks of trials in each session. Two blocks of trials were conducted using a momentary distal pointing cue and two using a gazing cue, given by the experimenter. Oxytocin enhanced performance using momentary distal pointing cues, and this enhanced level of performance was maintained over 5-15 days time in the absence of oxytocin. Oxytocin also decreased aversion to gazing cues, in that performance was below chance levels after saline administration but at chance levels after oxytocin administration.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s10071-015-0843-7
Field of Research 060603 Animal Physiology - Systems
060801 Animal Behaviour
06 Biological Sciences
17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Springer
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30074208

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.