FunNature & AnimalLarge dogs have more memory than small ones

Large dogs have more memory than small ones

Who has more memory a big dog or a small one? According to a study led by Daniel Horschler, a member of the Arizona Center for Canine Cognition at the University of Arizona and published in Animal Cognition , larger dogs have better short-term memory than small ones . They also have more capacity for self-control. The key is in your brain, more specifically in its larger size.

And while having bigger brains gives these dogs better short-term memory, it doesn’t mean they are top of the class for other types of intelligence. Horschler found that brain size was not an indicator of the dog’s better performance on tests of social intelligence , which the researchers measured by assessing each canine’s ability to follow specific human gestures for pointing. It was also not related to the dog’s interferential and physical reasoning ability.

The study yields results that are in line with what scientists already knew after studying primates, and that is that brain size is related to executive functioning but not to other types of intelligence. “Previous studies have been primarily or entirely comprised of primates, so we weren’t sure whether the result was the result of unique aspects of primate brain evolution,” Horschler notes in Animal Cognition . “We think dogs are really a great test case for this because there is a huge variation in brain size, to a degree that is not seen in almost any other land mammal. You have Chihuahuas versus Great Danes and everything in between. “continues the researcher.

The experiment

For the study, Horschler used data from more than 7,000 purebred domestic dogs of 74 different breeds from . The website offered instructions for owners to test their furry’s cognitive abilities through a battery of game-based activities. Later they had to send the data to the site and from there the researchers took it.

To test short-term memory, dog owners hid a treat under a plastic cup while the pet watched. Then they would wait 60, 90, 120 or 150 seconds and release the dog. The smaller furry ones had more difficulty than the big ones to remember where the treat was hidden .

Regarding the measurement of self-control, the test consisted of placing a treat in front of the sitting dog, forbidding him to take it, covering his eyes and waiting to see how long it took the dog to eat it. It turned out that larger dogs generally waited longer than smaller ones to pounce on the prized treat .

Horschler’s next challenge is to compare cognitive abilities between different strains of the same breed, such as between a mini-breed and a standard poodle.

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