Many of my friends identify my car by the bumper sticker that reads, “My golden retriever is smarter than your honor student.” While this may not be true in our conventional sense of the term ‘smart’ (can your dog do calculus?), dogs are certainly intelligent and can often outsmart humans (does your dog wait for you to look away before stealing your food?). This concept of multiple intelligences has come up several times in our seminar when debating the validity of IQ tests and the existence of a true measure of intelligence. I was definitely intrigued when I came across an article that applied this multiple intelligence theory to dogs!
The article consisted of an interview with Brian Hare, a professor at Duke University and author of The Genius of Dogs. In addition to discussing the multiple intelligences of dogs, Hare also talks about his large-scale research project: Dognition. Dognition is a website that allows dog owners to learn more about their dog’s way of thinking through a variety of activities. While the dog owners gain insight into the life of their household pet, Hare gains an extensive database of information to investigate dog cognition, both in comparison to humans and among different dog breeds. I’m curious to see what pet owners find and what Hare can learn from such a widespread sample. There is a fee for using Dognition, but maybe I can convince my parents to try the website with my dog!
Scientific American article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=brilliance-of-dog-mind
4 thoughts on “My dog is smarter than your honor student”
Finding an all-encompassing indicator of intelligence seems quite impossible to me at the moment. Maybe advancements in technology will bring us closer to it (like uncovering the connectome?!?!?) Anyways, MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE OF DOGS. That’s not something I often think about!
This is really interesting! Having had 2 dogs so far I can definitely see where one was “smarter” in certain ways.
My dog is super smart and manipulative, but I also think he has PTSD, or a fear disorder. He’s even on medication for it- but that is completely besides the point haha. There’s nothing like diagnosing your animals with psychological disorders! There is this documentary on Netflix called The Science of Dogs and I wonder whether intelligence is discussed. It could be a cool thing to check out if you are a canine enthusiast! I’ll watch it and follow up!
I find this so interesting! I know animals are intelligent but I guess I’ve never really thought about how a dog can think in a unique way like humans do. We were just talking about animals in my Zen class, specifically whether or not they can attain enlightenment. Based on ancient texts it seems that Zen masters believed that animals can attain enlightenment. But in order to attain enlightenment the animal must work at it through means such as meditation and koan practice, both activities that require a great deal of mind power. I guess my point is that even other cultures recognize the unique intelligences and abilities of animals, even going so far as to put them in the same category as humans.