Experiment 8- Jealousy
Feb 1, 2016
Many dog owners insist that their dogs behave anxiously, cloyingly, or aggressively due to jealousy emanating from owner attention provided to something else (e.g., another person, the phone, the newspaper, et al.), but especially attention given to another dog. The Dog Project responded by designing Experiment 8- Jealousy, which examined the brain responses of subject MRI-trained dogs while their owners ignored them and instead gave treats to an inanimate dog.
The experiment consisted of three conditions: 1) the owner praised and fed the subject dog, 2) the owner praised and fed the fake dog, and 3) the control condition, where the owner did nothing. We then compared brain activity in key regions of interest during each of the aforementioned states.
The goals are to: 1) empirically determine whether jealousy exists in domestic dogs, 2) determine what happens in the canine brain during jealous states, and 3) determine the overall personality profile of a dog that is more apt to react jealously versus a dog that is more apt to respond phlegmatically.