Dogs May Judge People Based on their Behavior, New Study Suggests


Dogs refuse to bond with humans they perceive as cold towards other people’s needs, researchers found.

According to a team of researchers, dogs, deemed humans’ closest companions, have the ability to observe behavior and judge people based on what they see. Details of the study have been recently published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.

Study’s Highlights

The paper reviewed by New Scientists states that dogs can understand when somebody is behaving in a neglectful manner towards somebody in need of help. Furthermore, they use this information to determine how they will interact in the future with some people, the researchers determined. During the trials, both monkeys’, as well as dogs’ perception was put to the test.


During the trials, the team of researchers employed actors to react differently to a person struggling to open a container. Hence, one actor would help the person in question to open the sealed container, one would simply sit and watch passively, and the other would repeatedly refuse to help.

Kyoto University’s James Anderson observed how dogs perceived different actors when asked to help with the sealed container on behalf of the person who was originally struggling to open it. Then, the actors would offer pets some treats. Interestingly enough, the subjects accepted treats from those who helped with the container, as well as from those who simply watched, but adamantly refused to accept anything from people who refused to help. The same applied for monkeys, as well.


The findings led scientists to believe that the long relationship between dogs and humans made them more sensitive to human feelings. Similarly, monkeys are able to understand helpfulness and just like the dogs, they refused to receive treats from those who were not willing to help others with basic tasks.

Based on the latest discoveries, the researchers believe both monkeys and dogs have developed a sense of morality similar to that of human babies. Hence, if somebody behaves in a manner that could be perceived as antisocial, dogs and monkeys alike exhibit an emotional response to it, said the lead author of the study and an animal behavior researcher at Kyoto University in Japan, James Anderson.

In a similar study conducted back in 2011, scientists showed that dogs were more likely to prefer people who gave food to the homeless over those who refused.

Image Source: Pixabay

About Andreas Petersen

Andreas was too little to remember when he and his parents first set foot in America. He considers himself a true American citizen, but uses every opportunity to promote his Danish origins. He is deeply found of politics, all nations’ politics and generally looks forward to the presidential elections. His BA degree in Political Sciences has helped him get familiar to the constitutional frames of US and non-US nations.