Can dogs read your mind? New research tested the cognitive skills of 16 dogs through a range of scenarios... all involving food. The food-finding tasks included four different experiments where dogs had to decide where the food was hidden by following cues from people who either did or did not know where the food was. For example, one person watched food being hidden while the other covered their eyes and, in each test, the dogs showed a preference for the person who they believed knew where the food was.
This masters research project was recently completed by Canterbury University psychology student Michelle Maginnity to investigate whether the domestic dog has a theory of mind – that is, whether they can think about the thoughts and feelings of self and others.
Now, I do believe pets of all types are sensitive to human cues and attuned to human behavior, and North does have the uncanny ability to tell when I am about to grab a snack or accidentally drop part of that snack. This research takes that belief one step further, claiming pets can also have the ability to think about, and process, what their human companions may be thinking. Share your thoughts about this research in your comments below!