This course gives you 4 ECTS (regular and active attendance + oral presentation).
The entire project seminar module consists of this seminar, plus the practical part (project seminar 2) and regular participation in the research seminars of the unit General Psychology 1 (Allgemeine Psychologie 1) during one semester and is credited with 9 ECTS. (regular and active attendance in project seminar 1 and 2, oral presentation project seminar 1, attendance in research seminars (Kolloquium Allgemeine 1) and final report (group work).
In the last two decades there has been growing interest in comparative psychology, i.e. how animals perceive their environment and what they understand about it. It turns out that many of the skills that were considered as uniquely human can be found - to some extent - in animals as well. Thus, the differences between the human and the animal mind might be more quantitative than qualitative. As cognitive skills are subject to evolutionary processes, they did not suddenly appear in the human species. Domestic dogs represent an interesting model, as they have evolved various skills for functioning effectively in human societies. Indeed, dogs show outstanding skills in the social-cognitive domain, especially in dog-human communication and cooperation (see Kaminski & Marshall-Pescini, 2014).
In part 1 of this project seminar, I will give an introduction on the methods in comparative psychology in general, and I will introduce the currently most discussed topics in dog cognition research. We will then review the latest literature in dog cognition research with a focus on dog-owner relationship. The aim is to come up with useful ideas and methods to investigate dog cognition and the dog-owner relationship.
In part 2 of the research seminar, which will take place in the upcoming winter term 2023/2024, we will then apply these ideas in practical fieldwork that will take place at the Max-Planck-Institute of Geoanthropology.