PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mom always said, ‘if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all.’ Well, the same goes if your dog is watching.
A new study found dogs and monkeys tend to shy away from rude and unhelpful people.
Researchers investigated if dogs and monkeys show a preference for those who help others.
According to New Scientist, comparative psychologist James Anderson and his colleagues began testing whether Capuchin monkeys would show a preference for people who help others by showing an actor struggling to open a container with a toy inside.
The actor then presented the container to a second actor, who would either help or refuse to assist.
Researchers say afterwards, both actors would offer the monkey food and the monkey would choose which offer to accept.
The study found when the actor was helpful, the monkey showed no preference between accepting the reward from the struggler or helper, but when the actor refused to help the person struggling, the monkey more often gravitated toward the person struggling.
Researchers also tested whether dogs preferred people who helped their owner. New Scientist reports each dog owner would try to open a container, then present it to one of two actors.
One of the actors would then help or refuse to help, while the other actor remained passive. The actors then presented the dog a reward and it would choose between the three.
Researchers say the dog had no preference when the first actor helped the owner, but were more likely to choose the passive actor over the actor who had refused to help.
Anderson says the study shows that monkeys and dogs make social evaluations in a similar way to human infants, according to New Scientist.
“If somebody is behaving antisocially, they probably end up with some sort of emotional reaction to it.”
The study found dogs’ long relationship with humans means they have evolved to be extremely sensitive to behavior, not just to the dog, but also to other humans.