, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 310-313
Date: 20 Jul 2011

On the hunt for the gene of perspective taking: pitfalls in methodology


In this commentary, we evaluate the methodology of Udell, Dorey, and Wynne’s (Learning & Behavior, in press) experiment in controlling for environmental factors and argue that their conclusion is not supported. In particular, we emphasise that comparative studies on dogs and wolves need to ensure that both species enjoyed the same rearing history, are comparable in age, and have the same experience with the testing conditions. We also argue that the utilisation of shelter dogs does not control for genetic effects on social behaviour. Finally, we propose a synergetic model to account for both genetic and environmental effects on interspecific social behaviour in dogs and wolves.