Dogs are smarter than humans in receiving bad advice because they filter it out

Dog in study cuts to the chase and ignores irrelevant information taught to him

Humans have a less effective filter is selecting useful information compared to dogs as this study demonstrates. In the video you see Laurie Santos explain how humans are more trusting when instructed to do something. The child copies exactly what he was shown (and some of the steps are irrelevant to the goal) whereas the dog under similar circumstances filters out the unnecessary steps and cuts to the chase when getting the food out of the box.

The video explains it all so I won’t write about it. Prof Santos is the director of the comparative cognition laboratory at Yale and of the iniversity’s canine cognition centre. She likes to study dog behaviour and use the information to better understand human behaviour. She thinks that dogs are more useful to us in terms of how we use social information. For thousands of years dogs have been paying attention to humans so she conducts behavioural test with dogs and humans, as you can see in the video above, to better understand human thinking.

Dog in study cuts to the chase and ignores irrelevant information taught to him

Dog in study ‘cuts to the chase’ and ignores irrelevant information taught to him. Screenshot.

The video is quite enlightening because the child methodically follows what he’s been instructed to do whereas the dog filters out extraneous and irrelevant information and uses information which gets him his reward which is the food. Dr Santos has said that much of her insights into human behaviour and mentality has come from observing dogs and not people.

She has a highly successful Yale university course online about human well-being and how to achieve it. In one lecture on YouTube she states that humans are very smart, the smartest species on the planet, but admits, as we should all admit, that humans can also be very stupid. She wonders how human intelligence can allow humans to act in a dumb way. She makes two proposals: that humans create systems and methods which are even too complex for humans or that the human brain is wired rather poorly i.e. is inherently defective. You can watch this video below if you wish.