The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Man’s best friend experiences a very human feeling, jealousy, according to a new study, which shows a dramatic change in their behavior when their owners profess affection to a stuffed dog.
The study, published by the journal PLoS One and directed by the psychologist from the University of California in San Diego, Christine Harris, indicates that dogs exhibit indifference when their owners ignore them or read out loud a book with illustrations engrossedly.
Different things were to see when their owners caressed a stuffed dog, capable of barking and wagging his tail, to what the dogs in the study responded with grunts, barks and attempts to separate his perceived rival from their owners.
“There is a widespread feeling that jealousy is unique to humans, in part because of the complex cognitive ability that involves emotion,” mentioned Harris and study co-author Caroline Prouvost, also from the University of San Diego, in the journal Plos One.
But the study shows that this is not the case: “We found that the dogs had significantly more jealous behaviors (…) when their owners showed affection toward what seemed another dog compared to no attention to social objects,” the authors stressed.
Harris and Prouvost emphasized that the research results support the theory that a “primitive” form of jealousy exists that is also observed in infants.
The study involved 14 dogs of breeds, including Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers, Pomeranian dogs, and mixed breeds.
Harris involved only small dogs fearing that they might react aggressively.
The psychologist decided to conduct the study to observe the behavior of the three Border Collies in their parent’s presence and see how, even when stroked both at the same time, these two showed aggressive behavior between them.
In addition to the book and the stuffed dog, the study introduced a third object, a cube with a painted face, to which the dog owners spoke to and treated it like an animal, which also triggered jealousy, though not as much as the Teddy object.
The authors of the study point out that jealousy is the third leading cause of non-accidental homicide, hence the importance of understanding how to try to control the less healthy aspects of feeling.
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose, Costa Rica