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Dogs may understand human perspective

In a study, researchers found that dogs were four times more likely to steal food they had been forbidden, when lights were turned off so humans in the room could not see.
This suggested the dogs were able to alter their behaviour when they knew their owners’ perspective had changed.

The finding made researchers to conclude that dogs are more capable of understanding situations from a human’s point of view than has previously been recognised.

The study, published in Animal Cognition, conducted tests on 84 dogs to find whether they could adapt their behaviour in response to the changed circumstances of their human owners.

The researchers wanted to see if dogs had a “flexible understanding” that could show they understood the viewpoint of a human.

It found that when the lights were turned off, dogs in a room with their human owners were much more likely to disobey and steal forbidden food.

The study was “incredible because it implies dogs understand the human can’t see them, meaning they might understand the human perspective,” said Dr Juliane Kaminski, from the University of Portsmouth’s psychology department.

Caesarean babies at higher risk of asthma and allergies

Babies, who are delivered by Caesarean section, miss out on protective bugs which could help prevent a host of disorders like asthma and allergies in childhood and later life, researchers have warned.

Significant differences in the gut bacteria were found in infants born surgically and naturally, the Daily Mail reported.

The researchers said that the findings will increase concern about potential lifelong effects for the baby from the increasing rate of Caesarean sections being done.

Although the exact causes are unknown, Caesarean babies could be missing out on physiological changes which happened during labour including exposure to bugs that are necessary for the immune system to develop.

For the study, researchers looked at data on 24 healthy infants, as part of the larger Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study, who were representative of Canadian newborns with 25 percent being born by Caesarean and 42 percent breastfed exclusively at 4 months of age.

The scientists used new DNA sequencing technique to find the gut bacterial composition of the babies, a technique that allows detection of virtually all the bugs present.
the study report said that the potential long-term consequences of decisions regarding mode of delivery and infant diet are “not to be underestimated.”

Exposure to plastic affects males differently than females

Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) affects male rodents differently than females, a new study has found.

A series of experiments by Cheryl Rosenfeld, associate professor of biomedical sciences in the University of Missouri’s Bond Life Sciences Center, studied the effects of prenatal exposure to BPA on later reproductive-associated behaviors using a socially and genetically monogamous rodent, the California mouse, which may better mirror most human societies than other rodents.

She observed harmful alterations to behaviors that affect the likelihood of successfully attracting a mate and reproducing. However, developmental exposure to BPA altered the behaviors of males differently than females.

In females, BPA reduced exploratory behavior that is essential for them to forage to provide nutritional support to her offspring. In contrast, California mice males exposed to BPA demonstrated reduced territorial marking, which is essential for them to defend a home range and their mate.

Rosenfeld suggests that these animal findings might provide a framework to guide human risk assessment studies in the sense that such studies may need to consider that pre- and post-natal exposure to BPA might differentially impact boys’ versus girls’ behaviors.

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