Representational image(Unsplash)
Representational image(Unsplash)

Dogs can learn new words after hearing them only four times: Study

The findings of a new study suggest that talented dogs can learn new words after hearing them only four times.
ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 06:40 PM IST

The findings of a new study suggest that talented dogs can learn new words after hearing them only four times. While preliminary evidence seems to show that most dogs do not learn words (i.e. names of objects), unless eventually very extensively trained, a few individuals have shown some exceptional abilities.

The Family Dog Project research team at the Department of Ethology, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest is investigating on these exceptionally talented dogs who seem to learn words in the absence of any formal training, but simply by being exposed to playing with their owners in the typical way owners do, in a human family.

A new study, just published in Scientific Reports, has provided surprising results about how quickly the gifted dogs can learn new words. Two gifted dogs, a Border Collie named Whisky, from Norway, already famous for her spontaneous categorization skills and a Yorkshire terrier named Vicky Nina, from Brazil, participated in this experiment. Their ability to learn a new word after hearing it only four times was tested.

While it is natural to think that dogs, like human children, would learn words mostly in a social context, previous studies tested the ability of talented dogs to learn object names during an exclusion-based task. In such task the dog was confronted with a setup in which seven familiar, already named dog toys were present, together with a novel one and his ability to choose the novel object upon hearing a novel name was tested.

"We wanted to know under which conditions the gifted dogs may learn novel words. To test this, we exposed Whisky and Vicky Nina to the new words in two different conditions" explains Claudia Fugazza, first author of the study, "during an exclusion-based task and in a social playful context with their owners. Importantly, in both conditions the dogs heard the name of the new toy only 4 times".

In the exclusion-based task, the dogs showed that they were able to select the new toy when their owner spoke a new name, confirming that dogs can choose by exclusion - i.e., excluding all the other toys because they already have a name, and selecting the only one that does not. However, this was not the way they would learn the name of the toy. In fact, when tested on their ability to recognize the toy by its name, as this was confronted with another equally novel name, the dogs failed.

The other condition, the social one, where the dogs played with their owners who pronounced the name of the toy while playing with the dog, proved to be the successful way to learn the name of the toy, even after hearing it only 4 times. Whisky and Vicky Nina were able to select the toys based on their names when they had learned the names this way.

"Such rapid learning seems to be similar to the way human children acquire their vocabulary around 2-3 years of age", comments Adam Miklosi, head of the Department of Ethology and co-author of the study.

To test whether most dogs would learn words this way, other 20 dogs were tested in the same condition, but none of them showed any evidence of learning the toy names, confirming that the capacity to learn words rapidly, in the absence of formal training is very rare and is only present in few gifted dogs.

After such few exposures, however, Whisky's and Vicky Nina's memory of the learned words decayed quite fast. While in the first test, conducted a couple of minutes after hearing the toy names, the dogs were successful, they did not succeed in most of the tests conducted after 10 minutes and 1 hour.

To find out more about the number of words that the gifted dogs can learn in a short timeframe, the researchers of Eotvos Lorand University have also recently launched the Genius Dog Challenge a project that became viral in the social media.

Vicky Nina, unfortunately, passed away in the meantime and could not take part in the Genius Dog Challenge. Whisky is participating in it, together with other five talented dogs that the scientists found all over the world in the past two years of search.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Initiative can salvage your sinking relation-ship
Initiative can salvage your sinking relation-ship

Initiative can salvage your sinking relation-ship

By Swati Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 04:46 PM IST
When in a relationship, the optimist in us never wants it to go kaput, after all who wants to shed those tears of sadness and months of longing for the same company. For most of us, the crying sessions that ensue after that, deal with how we didn’t see it coming. However, if you look closely, when doubts about a relationship start to creep in, people don’t just tell their partner immediately. They give and in fact take time to figure things out. But subtle or obvious hints or signs of turmoil might just pop up in everyday conversations.
Close
Vegetarian Paella(CookieAndKate)
Vegetarian Paella(CookieAndKate)

Try this Vegetarian Paella recipe and get a taste of Spain with a healthy twist

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 07:48 PM IST
Traditionally paella is made with meats, seafood, chorizo and other proteins, however this recipe is that of a vegetarian paella and skips out on meat completely making it perfect for those trying to cut down on meats, seafood and hoping to go for a healthy filling meal.
Close
Malala Yousufzai, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Michelle Obama(Instagram)
Malala Yousufzai, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Michelle Obama(Instagram)

International Women's Day 2021: Celebrating women who chose to challenge

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 07:28 PM IST
Women's Day 2021: From being an efficient homemaker to running a campaign, launching an initiative, reporting an achievement, and many more, women have proven their mettle in every sphere across the world.
Close
Hema Malini(Instagram)
Hema Malini(Instagram)

Women's Day 2021 | Men have equal role in women empowerment: Hema Malini

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 07:06 PM IST
Veteran Bollywood actor and BJP MP Hema Malini on Sunday said men have an equally significant role in promoting women empowerment on the eve of International Women's Day.
Close
Representational image(Unsplash)
Representational image(Unsplash)

Here's why individuals with higher income feel more proud and confident

ANI, Washington Dc
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 04:43 PM IST
People with higher incomes, in general, feel more proud, more confident and less apprehensive in comparison to those individuals who earn a lower income, although they may not feel more compassionate, caring, or cherishing, showed the findings of a recent study
Close
Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the Endeavour Fund Awards in London, Britain, March 5, 2020. (REUTERS)
Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the Endeavour Fund Awards in London, Britain, March 5, 2020. (REUTERS)

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle to delve into tough royal split with Oprah Winfrey

AP, Los Angeles
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 04:19 PM IST
The show, which includes Winfrey’s interviews with Meghan and Harry, will air first in the United States — Meghan’s home country — at 8 p.m. Eastern. Hours earlier, Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, will deliver a royal address before Commonwealth Day.
Close
Sima Taparia, who was recently in Delhi to attend an event says she likes to shop in South Extension market.
Sima Taparia, who was recently in Delhi to attend an event says she likes to shop in South Extension market.

Indian matchmaker Sima Taparia: Compromise se duniya successfully chalegi!

By Aprajita Sharad, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 02:20 PM IST
Affectionately referred to as Sima aunty by Gen Z and millennials, Taparia gives some advise for modern day relationships and marriages.
Close
Women's Day: Reese Witherspoon shares this ‘illuminating’ book as her March pick(Instagram/reesewitherspoon)
Women's Day: Reese Witherspoon shares this ‘illuminating’ book as her March pick(Instagram/reesewitherspoon)

Women's Day: Reese Witherspoon shares this ‘illuminating’ book as her March pick

By Zarafshan Shiraz
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 01:03 PM IST
  • Ahead of Women’s Day 2021, Hollywood actor Reese Witherspoon shares an ‘exceptionally powerful and illuminating’ book as her March pick after launching a free app for her book club which celebrates ‘diverse voices that put women at the center of their stories’
Close
Representational Image(Unsplash)
Representational Image(Unsplash)

Women's Day | Freedom is being bold: Hopeful voices of women around the world

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 02:12 PM IST
Women's Day 2021: Started as a way to call attention to the need for equal rights and promote women's suffrage, this year's celebration has the theme "Choose to Challenge".
Close
Ankita Konwar talks about self love in new post(Instagram/ankita_earthy)
Ankita Konwar talks about self love in new post(Instagram/ankita_earthy)

Ankita says love everything without forgetting to love yourself, Milind agrees

By Nishtha Grover, Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 01:31 PM IST
  • Ankita Konwar recently took to Instagram and reminded her fans to love themselves. She also spoke about the simple changes that she has made, in an attempt to live a more sustainable life, which have made a large difference.
Close
Malaysian artist Wani Ardy poses for a picture after an interview with Reuters, in Shah Alam, Malaysia March 2, 2021. Picture taken March 2, 2021. (REUTERS)
Malaysian artist Wani Ardy poses for a picture after an interview with Reuters, in Shah Alam, Malaysia March 2, 2021. Picture taken March 2, 2021. (REUTERS)

Born without a womb, Malaysia artist Wani Ardy sparks sexual health conversation

Reuters, Kuala Lumpur
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 04:20 PM IST
It wasn't until her 20s that Wani finally learned that her rare condition had a name - Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH) - when internal sex organs such as the womb or the vagina are either absent or underdeveloped at birth.
Close
There is a critical need for housing for older LGBT+ people, said Anna Kear, chief executive of Tonic Housing, as many say it would be "terrifying" to live in a predominantly straight home where other residents did not accept them.(Unsplash)
There is a critical need for housing for older LGBT+ people, said Anna Kear, chief executive of Tonic Housing, as many say it would be "terrifying" to live in a predominantly straight home where other residents did not accept them.(Unsplash)

UK to open first LGBT+ retirement home as market grows

Reuters, London
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 01:12 PM IST
Britain's first LGBT+ retirement home is set to open in mid-2021, the housing association behind the London riverside apartments said on Tuesday, highlighting a growing market of older people who do not want to be forced back in the closet.
Close
Representational Image(Unsplash)
Representational Image(Unsplash)

Be happy with self

By Prerna Gauba
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 03:12 PM IST
Recently Japan appointed a Minister of Loneliness, which made it clear how loneliness has become a global issue.
Close
Screengrab of the game
Screengrab of the game

Harry Potter game features trans characters after Rowling's transphobic comments

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 10:58 AM IST
The next Harry Potter video game will allow players to customize their character’s voice, body type and gender placement for the school dormitories, taking a stride toward inclusivity after several recent controversies stemming from comments by series creator J.K. Rowling that were seen as transphobic.
Close
Representational Image(Unsplash)
Representational Image(Unsplash)

Warmer tone in college syllabi makes students more likely to ask for help: Study

ANI, Oregon
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 08:35 AM IST
Conversely, when a syllabus is written in a more cold, detached tone, students are less likely to reach out.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP