The average mutt is better at math than a two-year-old. This may explain why the dog sometimes looks hurt or unhappy when less treats are put in his bowl than he’s used to.
Scientists at Emory University in Atlanta have noticed that understanding numerical values in dogs causes the same brain activity as in humans, in the parietal cortex. Rebecca West of De Montfort University and Robert Young of the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais in Brazil proved that dogs understand simple arithmetic. They used a method known as the preferred gaze, which has previously been used to test whether infants can count.
The scientists showed 11 dogs a treat and then placed it behind a low screen. They then showed the dogs a second treat and placed it next to the first. When the screen was removed to show the two treats, the dogs showed no interest. But when the researchers removed the treat or added an extra treat, so that the dogs saw one or three treats, they showed signs of surprise. The dogs, like infants in tests with humans, counted and knew the answer in front of them was wrong. Counting abilities were especially shown by Border Collies, Spaniels and Labradors.
Scientists say that according to behavioral indicators such as obedience, adaptability and motivation, dogs have the intelligence equivalent to a two-and-a-half-year-old child, and math is only part of the quadrupeds’ abilities. According to canine psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia, dogs “may not be Einsteins, but they are certainly closer to humans than we thought.
A pet’s abilities can be noticed when a dog seems to count family members when leaving the house or when returning. But studies testing cats’ ability to perform simple math tasks have so far been complicated by the fact that they get bored and leave. So it is premature to declare the superiority of the intelligence of cats or dogs.
Previously, scientists from the University of Auckland in New Zealand have revealed the ability of dogs to be jealous of their owners. They conducted an experiment involving 18 four-legged animals and their owners. The volunteers were placed in two rooms, one with a fleece cylinder and the other with a realistic dog doll. Seeing the owner play with a dog-like rival, the pets showed signs of jealousy.