Dogs Learn Language Differently Than Humans

Dogs Learn Language Differently Than Humans

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While many dog-owners may marvel at their pet’s human-like ability to understand new words; research by scientists at the University of Lincoln, UK, suggests that dogs learn words in a fundamentally different way to us.

Dogs have long been thought to learn new words in a similar way to humans; using an object’s shape such as ‘round’ for a ball, to associate words with objects. The importance of shape in human object-recognition is known as ‘shape-bias’. However, when dogs are learning the name of a new object, researchers found that they associate the word to the object based first on its size and secondly on its texture, rather than on its shape.

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