Comparative Psychology – DogStudies


Animal minds can inform us about the factors driving the evolution of cognition. For a number of reasons, the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) is a very interesting model for investigating different questions regarding the evolution of cognitive abilities. The fact that dogs have been living with humans for at least 15.000 years may have led to the selection of certain social cognitive skills by humans or even the co-evolution of dogs’ abilities with those of humans.

In cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, DogStudies  (LINK) addresses domestication and dog-human interactions. In this project, we investigate social cognitive skills of family and working dogs and their relationship with humans. For example, we are interested in communicative and cooperative skills of dogs, and how odor perception and cognition are linked together. We also investigate the relationship between dogs and humans and the way dogs are kept, used, and perceived in different cultures all over the world. The results of this project contribute to a better understanding not only of dog cognition and the dog-human relationship, but also of the relationship between cultural evolution and domestication, i.e. how cultural and evolutionary processes mutually influence each other.

Selected Relevant Publications

Amici, F., Waterman, J., Kellermann, C. M., Karimullah, K., & Bräuer, J. (2019). The ability to recognize dog emotions depends on the cultural milieu in which we grow up. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 16414.

Belger, J. & Bräuer, J. (2018). Metacognition in dogs: Do dogs know they could be wrong? Journal of Learning & Behaviour 46(4), 398–413.

Bräuer, J. & Call, J. (2011). The magic cup: Great apes and domestic dogs individuate objects according to their properties. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 125 (3), 353–361.

Bräuer, J. & Kaminski, J. (2020). Was Hunde wissen. Berlin, Heidelberg. Springer Spektrum (Link)

Bräuer, J. (2015). I do not understand but I care: the prosocial dog. Interaction Studies, 16 (3), 254–263.

Bräuer, J., & Belger, J. (2018). A ball is not a Kong: Odor representation and search behavior in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) of different education. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 132(2), 189-199.

Bräuer, J., Hanus, D., Pika, S. Gray, R., Uomini, N. (2020). Old and New Approaches to Animal Cognition: There Is Not “One Cognition”. Journal of Intelligence, 8(3), 28.

Bräuer, J., Kaminski, J., Riedel, J., Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2006). Making Inferences about the Location of Hidden Food: Social Dog – Causal Ape. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 120(1), 38-47.

Bräuer, J., Schaub, M., Pitsch, A., Kaminski, J., Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2013). Domestic dogs conceal auditory but not visual information from others. Animal Cognition, 16 (3), 351–359.

Bräuer, J., Schönefeld, K., & Call, J. (2013). When do dogs help humans? Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 148, 138–149.

Bräuer, J., Stenglein, K. & Amici, F. (2019). Dogs (Canis familiaris) and wolves (Canis lupus) coordinate with conspecifics in a social dilemma. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 134(2), 211–221.

Call, J., Bräuer, J., Kaminski, J., & Tomasello, M. (2003). Domestic dogs are sensitive to the attentional state of humans. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 117(3), 257–263.

Henschel, M., Winters, J., Müller, T.F. & Bräuer, J. (2020). Effect of shared information and owner behavior on showing in dogs (Canis familiaris). Animal Cognition. 23, 1019–1034.

Lampe, M., Bräuer, J., Kaminski, J. & Virányi, Z. (2017). The effects of domestication and ontogeny on cognition in dogs and wolves. Scientific Reports, 7(11690).


DFG Grant BR 3601/7-1 “Cultural Differences in Human-Dog-Interactions” to Juliane Bräuer and Stefan R. Schweinberger