If you’re the parent of a dog, you may want to watch them around new people – your beloved pet may help you identify assholes according to a new study.
Scientists at Kyoto University experimented with three groups of 18 dogs who interacted with their masters and others in a role-play situation. The dog owners couldn’t open a box and had to ask help from a stranger in the room. In the first group, the stranger refused to help. In the second group, the stranger offered help. In the third group, the stranger behaved in a neutral way.
After witnessing this, the dogs were more likely to accept a treat from a neutral observer than the person who refused to help their owner. The dogs in the other two groups seemed to have no issue taking treats from the strangers.
Scientists believe that this proves that dogs can make emotional evaluations of people and apply it socially. Even humans under 3 years old aren’t able to do this.
“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest. This ability is one of key factors in building a highly collaborative society, and this study shows that dogs share that ability with humans,” said Kazuo Fujita, a professor of comparative cognition at Kyoto University.
It’s not the first time this finding has been made. Another study out of the UK found that dogs perceive speech similarly to humans, and California researchers observed dogs experiencing jealousy.