Dogs are not only man’s best friend they have the ability to recall simple emotional moments the way we do, suggests a new study.
Remembering a specific emotional personal event by the human is known as episodic memory. It is thought to be linked to self-awareness. Whether non-human animals possess some forms of episodic memory is a controversial topic.
Researchers from Hungary, however, discovered that the dogs also use episodic-like memory that allows them to recall and remember events that were not known to be important.
“I think that dog owners more or less suspect, at least, that dogs can remember events from the past – what is novel is the type of memory they can use for doing so,” The Guardian newspapers reported lead author Claudia Fugazza as saying.
Fugazza and team trained 17 dogs of various breeds to copy their owner’s movements and command the dogs to mimic the action with the words “do it!”.
They also in the second step train the dogs to lie down. The researchers then tested whether dogs recalled the demonstrated actions by unexpectedly giving them the command to imitate, instead of lying down.
Dogs were tested with a short one minute and a long one-hour retention interval.
They were able to recall the demonstrated actions after both intervals; however, their performance declined more with time compared to conditions in which imitation was expected, says study appeared in Current Biology.
Dogs can recall past events as complex as human actions even if they do not expect the memory test, providing evidence for episodic-like memory. This means the puppies remember every move you make.
The findings are not only a big a surprise for those who owns dogs but have also paved way for the researchers to study episodic memory in non-human species.