- One secret behind supposed canine ESP turns out to be a dog's ability to track human eye movements.
- The ability helps dogs to read human intent.
- Dog social skills are equivalent to that of six-month to two-year-old children.
Dogs often seem to be psychic, anticipating what we're going to say or do, and now research reveals one secret behind this canine ESP: Dogs intensely track our eye movements, which can be tied to intent.
Human babies also possess the ability, described in the latest Current Biology. The discovery might help to explain why so many people treat their furry pals like their kids.
"Dogs are receptive to human communication in a manner that was previously attributed only to six-month-old human infants," co-author Jozsef Topal told Discovery News.
"They read our intention to communicate in a preverbal, infant-like manner," added Topal, who works in the Institute for Psychological Research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
For the study, Topal and his colleagues presented dogs with video recordings of a person turning toward one of two identical plastic pots while an eye tracker captured information about the dogs' reactions.