Friday, September 4, 2009

What are these things called dogs - children or wolves?

Interesting update on an old Piaget experiment. Here's how it works.

Take a toy, an ordinary toy, and a kid 10 months of age or younger. Have an adult put the toy in Hiding Place A. Let the kid loose. He'll drag, crawl, or catch the first bus accurately to Hiding Place A to get the toy.

Do it with a dog. Same results. They'll go to Hiding Place A each and every time.

Dogs are just like our children.

All right, well, let's add some confusion and check it out further. Have the adult now move the toy to Hiding Place B. The babbling child still first crawls to Hiding Place A and only then moves onto Hiding Place B.

But WWDD (what would doggie do)? The dog will ALSO move first to Hiding Place A, and only then proceed to Hiding Place B. Creepy!

Children and dogs are really no different, until it comes to the Health Care , but that's a different experiment concerning the number of sheep you can get to stampede away from change.

Interestingly enough, wolves behave differently from either kids or dogs (wolves raised by humans/not wild wolves since there's no toys in the wild). Put the toy in Hiding Place A and the wolves will find it. Then put it in Hiding Place B, and the wolves say the hell with Hiding Place A, I'm headed straight for B and they'll find the toy there too. Wolves be not fooled.

Lesson: toys are no deterrent against wolves in the wild.

Second lesson: there's more similarity between babies and dogs than between dogs and wolves. So which species evolved from which?

Particularly, it seems, both dogs and babies look to the adult as a teacher with information to convey. They'll follow rules set by the teacher rather than believe their own "lying" eyes. Wolves don't fall for it.

But now throw in a whole bunch of adults, like say, a set of parents or a church congregation. Have the whole bunch of them put the toy first behind Hiding Place A, and then move it to Hiding Place B. What happens? The babies still crawl to Hiding Place A, and only then to Hiding Place B to actually find the toy.

But that's when dogs get all wolfish, and go right to Hiding Place B. It seems dogs can tolerate one alpha human adult laying down the rules, but more than that it's as confusing as democracy, and they'd prefer to go with their own understanding of where the toy is hidden.

While babies believe any old adult that comes along, even as they mature into voters, which would explain an election or two we've seen.

The lesson - it takes a village to raise a child, but just one human to raise a pup. Or, put another way, pups are more cost effective than children.

Now that's baseball.

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