Attributing attention: the use of human-given cues by domestic horses (Equus caballus)

Proops, Leanne and McComb, Karen (2010) Attributing attention: the use of human-given cues by domestic horses (Equus caballus). Animal Cognition, 13 (2). pp. 197-205. ISSN 1435-9448

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

Recent research has shown that domestic dogs are particularly good at determining the focus of human attention, often outperforming chimpanzees and handreared wolves. It has been suggested that the close evolutionary relationship between humans and dogs has led to the development of this ability; however, very few other domestic species have been studied. We tested the ability of 36 domestic horses to discriminate between an attentive and inattentive person in determining whom to approach for food. The cues provided were body orientation, head orientation or whether the experimenters eyes were open or closed. A fourth, mixed condition was included where the attentive person stood with their body facing away from the subjects but their head turned towards the subject while the inattentive person stood with their body facing the subject but their head turned away. Horses chose the attentive person significantly more often using the body cue, head cue, and eye cue but not the mixed cue. This result suggests that domestic horses are highly sensitive to human attentional cues, including gaze. The possible role of evolutionary and environmental factors in the development of this ability is discussed.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Leanne Proops
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2012 10:00
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2012 10:05
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/37481
📧 Request an update