Psychologists and animal behaviour specialists from the University of Lincoln in the UK have shown through a series of unique behavioural experiments that the mental lexicon of domestic dogs is constructed in a substantially different manner to our own. Radio 5 Live presenter Rhod Sharp discussed the amazing research on the Up All Night show.
The findings, published in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE, may help to advance understanding of the foundations of language in humans and the critical differences with other species. The Lincoln researchers found that when dogs are introduced to new words to refer to new objects, they first generalise based on object size, then on object texture. Unlike humans, they do not appear to naturally discriminate based on shape.
To listen to the broadcast, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01p0rnc from 2hrs 4mins 50.