Dogs are biologically predisposed to communicate with humans in cooperative contexts. They show individual differences in dog–human communication and inhibition, potentially enhanced by life experience, e.g., Animal-Assisted Interventions. This study aimed to investigate whether dogs’ personality, defined by biologically meaningful neural circuits described in the Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality (RST), predicted dogs’ communication, task orientation, emotional state, and approach of an unsolvable task. We also investigated the differences between dogs experienced in Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI) and inexperienced dogs. The results indicated that a high sensitivity to the RST personality trait related to managing uncertainty (Behavioural Inhibition System, BIS) predicted fewer task orientations but increased referential and non-referential looking, which we interpreted as a way to obtain directions from the owner. Conversely, a high sensitivity to the traits reflecting tendencies to approach rewards (Behavioural Approach System, BAS) and avoid punishment (Fight–Flight–Freeze System, FFFS) predicted lower looking. High sensitivity to the FFFS also predicted more frequent task orientations, which we interpreted as frustration. Finally, the dogs in the AAI program looked more at their owner and were less oriented towards the task. These results provide empirical evidence of individual differences tied to the psychobiological personality traits in canine cognitive skills. Understanding such cognitive profiles may have an enormous impact on activities that rely upon dog–human collaborative interaction.

Personality and cognitive profiles of animal-assisted intervention dogs and pet dogs in an unsolvable task / P. Piotti, M. Albertini, L.P. Trabucco, L. Ripari, C. Karagiannis, C. Bandi, F. Pirrone. - In: ANIMALS. - ISSN 2076-2615. - 11:7(2021 Jul), pp. 2144.1-2144.16. [10.3390/ani11072144]

Personality and cognitive profiles of animal-assisted intervention dogs and pet dogs in an unsolvable task

P. Piotti
Primo
;
M. Albertini
;
C. Bandi;F. Pirrone
Ultimo
Supervision
2021-07

Abstract

Dogs are biologically predisposed to communicate with humans in cooperative contexts. They show individual differences in dog–human communication and inhibition, potentially enhanced by life experience, e.g., Animal-Assisted Interventions. This study aimed to investigate whether dogs’ personality, defined by biologically meaningful neural circuits described in the Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality (RST), predicted dogs’ communication, task orientation, emotional state, and approach of an unsolvable task. We also investigated the differences between dogs experienced in Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI) and inexperienced dogs. The results indicated that a high sensitivity to the RST personality trait related to managing uncertainty (Behavioural Inhibition System, BIS) predicted fewer task orientations but increased referential and non-referential looking, which we interpreted as a way to obtain directions from the owner. Conversely, a high sensitivity to the traits reflecting tendencies to approach rewards (Behavioural Approach System, BAS) and avoid punishment (Fight–Flight–Freeze System, FFFS) predicted lower looking. High sensitivity to the FFFS also predicted more frequent task orientations, which we interpreted as frustration. Finally, the dogs in the AAI program looked more at their owner and were less oriented towards the task. These results provide empirical evidence of individual differences tied to the psychobiological personality traits in canine cognitive skills. Understanding such cognitive profiles may have an enormous impact on activities that rely upon dog–human collaborative interaction.
Animal-Assisted Interventions; Dog; Personality; Referential looking; Unsolvable task
Settore VET/02 - Fisiologia Veterinaria
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/860191
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