Tuesday, January 11, 2011

doggie do do at the the HuffPo

The Huffington Post is resetting the bar for astoundingly stupid science reporting: They report on a dog, Chaser, who has been trained to accurately fetch over 1000 toys by sound of the name and conclude that the dog's abilities, wait for it, place her at an intelligence level equivalent to a three-year-old human child!

My oh my, their view of the cognitive ability of 3 year olds is as depressing as it is profoundly wrong. Sorry, 3 year old humans can do more than make one-to-one correspondences between sounds and objects. They can, for example, recognize that the sound swing can mean an object with a seat attached to ropes OR the action you perform when you move your body back and forth on that thing with the ropes, they can watch TV and follow plot developments, ... sigh, I mean fuck it, it's not worth debunking ...

UPDATE: Sean at Replicated Typo reviews the original research involving Chaser.

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