Description: The current study investigated concept formation in domestic dogs, specifically that of a toy concept. The dog's differential responding (retrieval vs. non-retrieval) to two sets of stimuli suggested a toy concept. Differential responding occurred from the very first trial, indicating that the concept had been formed in the natural environment, not during the experiment. It was hypothesized that a common response may be responsible for the emergence of the class in the natural environment. The results demonstrated that it was possible to expand the class by adding previously non-retrieved objects to the toy class through a common response. It was also shown that the toy concept passed the more stringent criterion (transfer of function test) required validating it as a concept.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Feuerbacher, Erica Nan