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动物行为学:狗也能读懂人心

Dogs avoid people who are mean to their owners
动物行为学:狗也能读懂人心

Most dog owners will tell you that their pets are loyal, socially intelligent animals.

多数养狗的人都会告诉你,他们的宠物很忠诚,也很懂得人际关系。

And last month scientists in Japan showed domestic dogs avoid people they have seen behave unhelpfully to their owners, using a cunning test.

上月,日本的科学家通过一项精心设计的实验证明,如果家犬目睹过某人不帮助自己的主人,便会有意避开此人。
 

The experiment was designed to see whether dogs can evaluate humans interacting with one another over an object.

这项实验的目的是为了判断,狗能否评估人们针对某个物体展开的人际互动。

The result showed most dogs avoided taking food from someone they had seen behaving negatively to, which in this case means ignoring, their master.

结果显示,如果某人曾经对狗主人采取过消极行为(在本研究中指的是忽略狗主人的求助),多数狗都不会接受此人的喂食。

During the test, dogs watched their owners try to retrieve a roll of tape from a sealed, transparent container, and then turn to an actor sitting next to them to request help.

在实验过程中,狗会亲眼目睹自己的主人试图从一个透明的密封容器中取出一卷胶带,并向坐在旁边的一位演员求助。

In the first scenario the “nonhelper” actor refused to help and turned away.

在第一个场景中,这位“非帮手”演员拒绝提供帮助,并背过脸去。

In the second experiment, the “helper” held the container steady when asked for help, while the owner opened the lid and retrieved the object.

在第二个场景中,“帮手”演员会帮狗主人扶住容器,由狗主人自己打开盖子并取出胶带。

And in one further “control” test, the actor turned away but was not asked for help by the owner.

研究人员还设计了一个对照试验:虽然狗主人并未向演员求助,但此人仍会背过脸去。

For each scenario, a neutral person sat on the other side of the owner, and did not interact in the activity.

在任何一种场景中,都有一个中立者坐在狗主人的另一侧,自始至终没有参与这场互动。

Immediately afterwards, the actor and neutral person offered the dog food. Dogs tended to avoid the “nonhelper” actor, who had behaved badly to their owner, and more frequently took a treat from either the “helper”, the “control” actor or from the neutral person.

紧接着,演员和中立者都会给狗喂食。狗往往会避开“非帮手”演员,更多地接受“帮手”演员、对照演员或中立者的喂食。

However the dogs did not take food more often from the "helper" compared with the "control" actor or neutral person.

不过,狗接受“帮手”演员的喂食并不比对照演员和中立者更多。

Fifty-four dogs – from a variety of breeds – and their owners participated in the study, which was published in the journal Animal Behaviour in June this year.

本次研究对象包含了54只狗,涉及多个品种,研究内容已经发表在今年6月的《动物行为学》(Animal Behaviour)期刊上。

Dogs’ avoidance of someone who had behaved negatively to their owner suggests they might understand third-party interactions, known as “social eavesdropping”.

狗拒绝接受对主人采取消极行为的演员提供的喂食,表明它们或许理解第三方互动。这种能力被称作“社交窃听”。

Few non-primate animals are thought to eavesdrop. Another interesting example of the phenomenon is the bluestreak cleaner fish: bystanding fish prefer to stay close to “co-operative” cleaners than “cheaters” they have seen remove mucus and not parasites from host animals.

科学家认为,很少有非灵长类动物具备这种能力。另外一个体现这种现象的有趣例子是蓝纹清洁鱼:旁观的鱼往往会更接近“有合作精神的”清洁鱼,而如果它们曾经目睹某些“骗子”从宿主动物身上移除粘液而非寄生虫,便会敬而远之。

Humans are the most prolific social eavesdroppers. We often help one another for no obvious benefit. This helps us operate in what the research team call “large-scale co-operative societies”.

人类是最高明的社交窃听者。我们经常会因为不那么明显的利益而彼此帮助,这有助于我们在研究人员的所谓“大规模合作型社会”中的生存。

In humans, this sensitivity to interactions between others begins very early. Six-month-old babies can evaluate others based on their social behaviour, one study has suggested, showing preference to "helpful" over "nasty" characters.

在人类社会中,这种感知他人互动的能力从很早就开始出现。一项研究显示,6个月的婴儿就能根据他人的社交行为对其展开评估,更加亲近“乐于助人”的人,疏远“令人讨厌”的人。

It is known dogs are very sensitive to human actions directed at themselves, but it has been debated whether they are able to evaluate third-party interactions.

众所周知,狗对人类直接与之展开的互动非常敏感,但它们能否评估第三方互动却一直很有争议。

The new study adds to the evidence that they do just this.

这项新的研究进一步证明狗的确具备这种能力。

The scientists point out the fact that the dogs’ owners were involved in the interaction could have influenced the result, writing: “Attachments between dogs and their owners can be strong, and the former may be particularly sensitive to how other people treat the latter.”

科学家指出,由于狗主人参与了互动,因此可能对结果产生了影响。他们写道:“狗与主人的感情很深,所以可能对他人对待自己主人的方式特别敏感。”

So if you’re a dog owner, you can take comfort in the idea that if someone is mean to you, you’ll have at least one “friend” by your side.

所以,如果你家里养狗,当有人对你吝啬时不要感觉太难过,因为至少还有一个“朋友”与你同在。
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