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Dogs Judge People Based On How They Treat Others

Update Date: Feb 14, 2017 08:10 AM EST

A new study published in the journal of Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews revealed dogs can tell when someone is being a jerk. Dogs use that information when deciding how to interact with humans around them.

Human studies in the past have also demonstrated that babies by the age of 1 already begin to judge people by how they interact. The researchers said the experiments suggest the dog's long relationship with humans may have made them more sensitive to our feelings.

James Anderson of Kyoto University tested capuchin monkeys and dogs to see if their behavior would change in reacting to moral situations. Owners were asked to pretend to struggle in opening a container while their dogs watched and an actor would either help, acted passively, or refused to lend them a hand. Both bystanders would then offer the dogs and monkeys a treat.

When one bystander helped open the container, the dogs did not favor the helpful one over the passive one. The dogs were just as likely to take the treat from either of the two. On the second condition, the helpful bystander was acting as a jerk, so the dog favored the passive one who did nothing.

Monkeys also understood fairness and helpfulness in a similar setting. They shunned actors who refused to help other people when they were offered treats.

As a result, the researchers concluded that both dogs and monkeys have a sense of morality similar to that of human babies. Anderson said "If somebody is behaving antisocially, they probably end up with some sort of emotional reaction to it," according to ABC7 News.

According to Tech Times, a basic sensitivity around antisocial tendencies develops into an actual sense of morality as a person grows up and learns. Dog's long lasting relationship with humans has made them very sensitive to our behavior towards dogs and other humans.

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