Friday, August 22, 2008

A Room Full of Geniuses

Are dogs getting smarter? Or are people getting dumber?

The first question, at least, was bandied about at a conference of behaviourists in Europe recently, according to an article in the Daily Mail.

Over the course of the conference the scientists revealed startling facts like "animals abide by social rules".

The Canine Science Forum in Budapest also revealed that "dog barks contain information that people can understand". Room full of geniuses there.

Dr. Takaoka from Japan went a bit further. She performed a study where the dog was shown a picture while listening to a voice recording. According to the article, "if the gender of the face did not match that of the voice, the dogs stared longer, a sign that their expectations had been violated."

Ah, so that's what is happening when I make a funny noise and my dog stares at me, and sometimes (really! I have evidence!) cocks his head to the side. I, Ms. X, his loving owner and master, have violated his expectations.

Fortunately, there are people dedicated to helping us deduce these things.

Heck, I made up a joke for the occasion.

How many behaviorists does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: At least 20. 12 to analyze and hypothesize about the motivations for changing the bulb, one to actually change the bulb, and 7 to author a paper revealing that science has proven that sitting in a dark room will motivate someone to change a light bulb.


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