Author Topic: Dogs and Mooney Images  (Read 349 times)

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Offline CookieMustard

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Dogs and Mooney Images
« on: August 12, 2018, 10:04:55 PM »
I listened to the most recent podcast where there was some talk of Mooney images and problems of recognition. After listening to the podcast I took a walk through the local park and was reminded me of another recognition problem which has puzzled me in the past. Someone was sitting on a park bench and had a beagle on a leash sitting on the ground by him. Meanwhile another couple, some distance away, was walking their dog which was some large long-haired dog. Now I'm guessing most of you will have seen what happened next: as soon as the dogs saw each other their tails went up and started wagging and they got friskier. You could almost here the message "Let's play!" . I've seen that behavior lots of times (as long as neither dog is particularly aggressive). So the puzzling thing is how do dogs recognize each other when there are so many wildly different breeds; Great Danes, Poodles, Bulldogs, Corgis. Dogs always seem to recognize another dog, no matter the shape, size, color, or hairstyle. And they don't seem to misrecognize a cat or a fox or something similar as another dog.
Now I remember reading  about a study some time ago that seemed to confirm this was a real ability, and that it was a visual ability, not connected with smell.
I was just wondering if anyone here knew of any deeper study of dog-dog recognition. (I would guess that it happens with other animals as well, but it seems more striking with dogs because of the variety)

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Dogs and Mooney Images
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2018, 01:51:32 AM »
Same way we do, I guess. Humans have parts of their brains that are activated specifically by faces. We can recognise a face regardless of whether it's white, black, disfigured, turned to the side, made of LEGO, clouds or grilled cheese, pointilistically painted, or even consisting of just two typographic characters :)

I would hazard a guess that dog brains have a similar structure that allows them to recognise a dog. But very few fMRI studies have been done on dogs.
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: Dogs and Mooney Images
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2018, 01:58:11 AM »
I want to see some examples of these images unproved, but there do not appear to be any good ones online.
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Offline Rai

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Re: Dogs and Mooney Images
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2018, 04:03:39 AM »
Maybe dogs are as used to recognising dogs as humans are at recognising humans.

Humans also display a very broad spectrum of morphological variety, but we have no problems with recognizing each other.

Offline brilligtove

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Re: Dogs and Mooney Images
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2018, 09:51:43 AM »
Anecdotally, my puppies don't recognize other dogs until they have had a chance to socialize and sniff. As they get older they start to understand what "dog" looks like in a general sense. Seeing a whole new extreme breed is fun to watch. When my poo-tzu Scarlett first encountered Great Danes she was very uncertain. Same with a short haired chihuahua. After a sniff and pet from the owner, there was never a concern again.
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Offline CookieMustard

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Re: Dogs and Mooney Images
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2018, 09:56:31 AM »

I would hazard a guess that dog brains have a similar structure that allows them to recognise a dog. But very few fMRI studies have been done on dogs.

You are probably right but I thought that most dog breeds are relatively young, like 3000 years or less, so there would be less time available to evolve (probably "modify" would be better) such structures. Now I can't see through doggie eyes but it seems to me that there is much more morphological variety among dogs than among humans: Irish Wolfhounds, pugs, Shih Tzus. To me it would be easier to confuse a Pomeranian with a fox, than with a scottie.
But maybe humans tend to focus on things which might be pretty irrelevant for dogs like long silky fur, or short curly fur, or a pug nose thereby exagerrating differences in breeds.

Offline Rai

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Re: Dogs and Mooney Images
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2018, 10:17:00 AM »

I would hazard a guess that dog brains have a similar structure that allows them to recognise a dog. But very few fMRI studies have been done on dogs.

You are probably right but I thought that most dog breeds are relatively young, like 3000 years or less, so there would be less time available to evolve (probably "modify" would be better) such structures. Now I can't see through doggie eyes but it seems to me that there is much more morphological variety among dogs than among humans: Irish Wolfhounds, pugs, Shih Tzus. To me it would be easier to confuse a Pomeranian with a fox, than with a scottie.
But maybe humans tend to focus on things which might be pretty irrelevant for dogs like long silky fur, or short curly fur, or a pug nose thereby exagerrating differences in breeds.



Of course, unlike dogs, humans were not artificially selected to have 'breeds' that maintain extreme traits, therefore the morphological differences are less neatly distributed.



Offline brilligtove

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Re: Dogs and Mooney Images
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2018, 10:25:12 AM »

I would hazard a guess that dog brains have a similar structure that allows them to recognise a dog. But very few fMRI studies have been done on dogs.

You are probably right but I thought that most dog breeds are relatively young, like 3000 years or less, so there would be less time available to evolve (probably "modify" would be better) such structures. Now I can't see through doggie eyes but it seems to me that there is much more morphological variety among dogs than among humans: Irish Wolfhounds, pugs, Shih Tzus. To me it would be easier to confuse a Pomeranian with a fox, than with a scottie.
But maybe humans tend to focus on things which might be pretty irrelevant for dogs like long silky fur, or short curly fur, or a pug nose thereby exagerrating differences in breeds.



Of course, unlike dogs, humans were not artificially selected to have 'breeds' that maintain extreme traits, therefore the morphological differences are less neatly distributed.

 It seems to me that humans have a long history of reacting to encountering new morphological types with some extreme prejudice.
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Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Dogs and Mooney Images
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2018, 11:15:19 AM »

I was just wondering if anyone here knew of any deeper study of dog-dog recognition. (I would guess that it happens with other animals as well, but it seems more striking with dogs because of the variety)

We don't really know how accurate they are either - when a dog sees another animal or something moving in the distance, we don't know if or when they identify it as dog vs non-dog.  Even when they get closer for good visibility, they might mistake a goat or something for another dog at first.  When a dog sees a coyote, we don't know if they recognize it as significantly different from their own species.

Amend and resubmit.

Offline brilligtove

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Re: Dogs and Mooney Images
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2018, 11:28:18 AM »
My Poo-Tzu is about a year old. She saw a life-sized statue of a small goat curled up on the ground in a garden. She lost her mind over it. I don't know what she thought it was, but she did not think it was a dog.

It was ridiculously cute.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Dogs and Mooney Images
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2018, 08:49:46 PM »
It seems to me that humans have a long history of reacting to encountering new morphological types with some extreme prejudice.

Some dogs tend to do that, too.
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