Big thoughts in small brains? Dogs as a model for understanding human social cognition

Neuroreport. 2007 Mar 26;18(5):467-71. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e3280287aae.


In this review we argued that dogs can provide a good model for both the evolution of human social-cognitive abilities and studying the underlying neural and genetic structures of these behavioural features. The key difference between the present and other approaches for modelling human social evolution lies in the assumption that there is a large overlap between the human and dog behaviour complex because during their evolution in close contact with human groups dogs evolved functionally similar social skills. Thus the parallel investigation of the human and dog behaviour complex widens our possibility for understanding human social cognition because it allows the modelling of the interaction between various components in contrast to other models which are often restricted to modelling a single aspect of human social cognitive skills.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Social Behavior*