Vol 10, Issue 4, November 2023

Canine Curiosity: What We Do Know and Don't Know, and What Human Infants Could Teach Us


Sexton, C. L., & Lucca, K. R. (2023). Canine Curiosity: What we do and don’t know, and what human infants could teach us. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 10(4), 355-365. https://doi.org/10.26451/abc.


The phenomenon of domesticated dogs looking to humans for information is ubiquitous, yet infrequently observed among other interspecies interactions. Dogs’ inclination to solicit information from humans is in large part a result of the two species’ shared social evolution and niche. Perhaps a more compelling aspect of this relationship is how dogs respond in the face of unexpected, uncertain, and/or novel cues from humans, from whom they frequently solicit information. The influence of human presence on canines’ curiosity about and engagement with their immediate environment is understudied, in part due to challenges in study design. SomeS of these challenges are common to working with and learning from babies of our own species. And, as dogs have developed many mental processes and behaviors similar to preverbal human infants, illuminating strategies for understanding curiosity in babies may prove useful in learning more about how dogs experience the world, with and without people.


Curiosity, Comparative cognition, Child development, Human-animal interactions, Canine cognition, Novelty-seeking behavior