It's Magic! Violation of Expectation in Dogs (Canis Familiaris)
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In this two-part study, canines and their ability to create expectations were tested using a Violation of Expectation (VoE) paradigm, with the use of sleight of hand. A dogs ability to problem solve with and without a human was also tested. Experiment 1 had 23 subjects. After habituation trials, where dogs received a reward following a demonstration, a magic trial followed, in which where the reward would disappear. In Study 1, there was an increase in frustration related behaviours during the VoE trial compared to the habituation trials, but dogs did not search for the reward longer during these trials. Experiment 2 involved the surreptitious swapping of a positive reward for a reward of lesser value, with 18 subjects. During the magic trial, canines searched longer than during habituation trials, suggesting they noticed the change in reward. There were also significantly more frustration behaviours displayed during the magic trials. The major difference between the studies was the presence of the human experimenter in Study 1, while during Study 2 all humans were removed from the experiment. These results suggest canines can create expectations, but further research is needed to understand how and why dogs have this ability. Canines also persevere longer to find the reward when a human is not involved.