The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Community News Network

February 11, 2013

Slate: A $60 app probes your dog's intellect

Sixty dollars! It's the only thing standing between me and a new Web app I sorely want: Dognition, which will confirm once and for all that my dog is a genius. (Admittedly, that genius is buried deep. Most people who know Ziggy don't immediately equate his aggression toward water pipes with intellectual prowess.)

Dognition, launched last week, is essentially an intelligence test for dogs. The brainchild of Brian Hare, an anthropology professor and director of the Canine Cognition Center at Duke University, it consists of assessment questions (e.g. "Does Benjy ever 'intervene' in an argument between other members of the household?" "When you laugh, does Benjy wag his tail?") and simple games involving plastic cups, treats, paper and sticky notes. Together, these tests measure canine IQ across five dimensions: empathy, communication, cunning, memory and reasoning. Nor are they just an opportunity for you to brag that your dog is smarter than your neighbors' mutt: The data gathered by the app flow into Duke University, where it will be analyzed and used as a launching pad for more focused experiments. For instance, if the collected scores show a pattern of dachshunds shining at spatial reasoning, the Duke team might investigate that in a lab setting (and possibly a Lab setting, too, for control purposes).

The app is like a chew toy for dog lovers like me who enjoy imagining the rich (I can only assume) internal lives of their pets. (Alexandra Horowitz's "Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know" bounded onto The New York Times best-seller list for a reason.) We open our front doors, see our pals' faces, want to think they're asking about our days. When we turn to look at something and their eyes follow ours, we hear them agreeing, "How about that."

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • 25801486.jpg VIDEO: Northern California bus crash kills 10

    At least nine people died in Northern California on Thursday night, in an accident involving a bus, a car and FedEx truck. The bus was filled with high school students from Southern California who were on their way to visit a college campus.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Graduation Salutes
Seasonal Content