This Dog IQ Test May Help Scientists Study Human Health, Because Dogs And Humans Are BFFs For Life
The first time I tried to give my dog an IQ test, it was after reading a post by Hyperbole and a Half's Allie Brosh, in which she thought her dog might be, um, struggling. With the basics of being a dog. When my grumpy rescue pup refused to comply with my testing efforts, I turned to my cats, who refused to comply even harder. I continued in my quest to determine the intelligence of my eccentric, neurotic pets, but maybe I just wasn't giving them the right test — because scientists have devised an actual dog IQ test that determined that pups and humans are remarkably similar when it comes to how our intelligence functions. Apparently dogs may now be used as stand-ins for humans in research regarding intelligence, health, and disorders such as dementia. Crazy, right? I always knew dogs were angels from heaven.
So, maybe this isn't super surprising, but studies have found that "brighter" people tend to live longer. This theory, regarding a link between intelligence and health, has been difficult to prove definitively, though, because humans do a lot of things that shorten lifespan — abuse specific substances, for example. But now that scientists have found a link between human and dog IQs, in that they can measured in the same way, they can work with more accurate data, since dogs are "teetotalers" i.e. very, very sober. Obviously. Because they are dogs.
A recent study, developed by the University of Edinburgh and the London School of Economics and published in the journal Intelligence , found that dogs who perform well on one task generally tend to perform well on other tasks — just like humans. An IQ test was administered to 68 working border collies and involved problem-solving situations, like a treat being visible but behind a barrier (requiring the dog to go around the barrier rather than try to dig underneath it), and whether the dog could determine which plate had more food.
Yeah, most of the tests were food related and, uh, let's be real, an IQ test for humans that involved rewards in the form of food would also be very effective. Another way people and pups are the same. We are not afraid to snack. Bring on the snacking.
An additional, less fun way that dogs and humans are similar is that both naturally develop dementia with old age, which causes their brain structure and behavior to change. Scientists hope that continued studies on dog intelligence, cutely nicknamed "dognitive epidemiology" (I know — I screamed, too), will yield advances in dementia research and treatment. For those of us who have seen family members suffer through cognitive deterioration, the research can't come soon enough.
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