Posted Date: February 15, 2016
A new study looks at whether dogs have measurable IQ similar to humans.
A group of researchers at the London School of Economics and
Political Science and the University of Edinburgh recently published the
results of their work in the journal Intelligence. The study found that dogs
have IQs that can measured in the same way that we can measure a person's IQ.
IQ, also known as "general intelligence," is determined by a
series of tests involving cognition. People who perform well with one kind of
task generally do similar tasks at an equal level of competence. Using the
format of a human IQ test as a guide, the researchers created a test
specifically for dogs.
The first set of tasks involved problem solving by finding a
treat that might be hidden or behind a clear barrier such as glass. The second
set of tests involved the dogs' ability to follow a pointing gesture, which
determines their ability to use visual cues to make decisions. This involved
hiding treats underneath beakers and pointing to them to see which the dog
would choose. The last set of tests
looked at the dogs' ability to estimate the differences in quantity between two
sets of treats placed on plates arranged in random configurations.
The study involved 68 Border Collies and each dog was tested
for an hour or less, which is approximately the same amount of time most people
need to take an IQ test. The dogs all came from working farms where they were
employed to do sheep herding, so the dogs were raised and trained in a
homogeneous manner and environment.
The researchers found that if the dogs performed well on one
category of test, they did even better on the other categories. In fact, the faster a dog completed a test,
the more accurate their performance was.
The authors note that, "Learning about individual differences
in animal intelligence is a first step in understanding how cognitive abilities
fit into the fitness landscape. It will provide crucial information on the
relationship between intelligence and health, aging and mortality." The
researchers recommend further study with larger and more varied sample sizes in
Source: Rosalind Arden, Mark James Adams. A general
intelligence factor in dogs. Intelligence,
Volume 55, March-April 2016, Pages 79-85.
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