Washington [US], January 31 (ANI): A new study discovered that talented dogs can learn new words after hearing them only four times.
Preliminary evidence shows that though most dogs do not learn words (i.e. names of objects) unless very extensively trained, a few individuals have shown some exceptional abilities by learning new words after hearing them only four times.
The Family Dog Project research team at the Department of Ethology, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest is investigating these exceptionally talented dogs who seem to learn words in the absence of any formal training, but simply by being exposed to playing with their owners in the typical way owners do, in a human family.
A new study, published in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’, has provided surprising results about how quickly the gifted dogs can learn new words. Two gifted dogs, a Border Collie named Whisky, from Norway, already famous for her spontaneous categorization skills, and a Yorkshire terrier named Vicky Nina, from Brazil, participated in this experiment. Their ability to learn a new word after hearing it only four times was tested.
While it is natural to think that dogs, like human children, would learn words mostly in a social context, previous studies tested the ability of talented dogs to learn object names during an exclusion-based task. In such a task the dog was confronted with a setup in which seven familiars, already named dog toys were present, together with a novel one, and his ability to choose the novel object upon hearing a novel name was tested.
“We wanted to know under which conditions the gifted dogs may learn novel words. To test this, we exposed Whisky and Vicky Nina to the new words in two different conditions” explained Claudia Fugazza, first author of the study, “during an exclusion-based task and in a social playful context with their owners. Importantly, in both conditions the dogs heard the name of the new toy only 4 times”.
In the exclusion-based task, the dogs showed that they were able to select the new toy when their owner spoke a new name, confirming that dogs can choose by exclusion – i.e., excluding all the other toys because they already have a name, and selecting the only one that does not. However, this was not the way they would learn the name of the toy. In fact, when tested on their ability to recognize the toy by its name, as this was confronted with another equally novel name, the dogs failed.
The other condition, the social one, where the dogs played with their owners who pronounced the name of the toy while playing with the dog, proved to be the successful way to learn the name of the toy, even after hearing it only 4 times. Whisky and Vicky Nina were able to select the toys based on their names when they had learned the names this way.
“Such rapid learning seems to be similar to the way human children acquire their vocabulary around 2-3 years of age”, commented Adam Miklosi, head of the Department of Ethology and co-author of the study.
To test whether most dogs would learn words this way, other 20 dogs were tested in the same condition, but none of them showed any evidence of learning the toy names, confirming that the capacity to learn words rapidly, in the absence of formal training is very rare and is only present in few gifted dogs.
After such few exposures, however, Whisky’s and Vicky Nina’s memory of the learned words decayed quite fast. While in the first test, conducted a couple of minutes after hearing the toy names, the dogs were successful, they did not succeed in most of the tests conducted after 10 minutes and 1 hour.
To find out more about the number of words that the gifted dogs can learn in a short timeframe, the researchers of Eotvos Lorand University have also recently launched the Genius Dog Challenge a project that became viral on social media.
Vicky Nina, unfortunately, passed away in the meantime and could not take part in the Genius Dog Challenge. Whisky is participating in it, together with other five talented dogs that the scientists found all over the world in the past two years of search. (ANI)
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VIR DAS TO DEVELOP AMERICAN COUNTRY MUSIC COMEDY SERIES
WASHINGTON: Actor-comedian Vir Das is developing a country music comedy series titled ‘Country Eastern’ for Fox.
As per Variety, Das is attached to co-write and executive produce the project with Sam Laybourne, with Laybourne also attached to serve as showrunner. Das might also star in the upcoming project. Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer and Ali Bell of Party Over Here will also executive produce along with Reg Tigerman. CBS Studios and Fox Entertainment will produce.
Titled ‘Country Eastern’, the single-camera show has received a script commitment with a penalty attached. The show is about a young wealthy man from India who restarts his life in America with his family. While attempting to rebuild their lives in Memphis, Tennessee, he decides to pursue his passion and become a country music singer. Only problem: he’s shit. Total shit. He’s going to have to gain some life experience in the States if he wants to have something real to sing about.
This would mark Das’ first US series lead and his second series regular role following his stint on ABC’s spy dramedy ‘Whiskey Cavalier’. Das also created, executive produced and starred in the Netflix Indian dark comedy series ‘Hasmukh’.
SELENA GOMEZ TO PRODUCE TRUE-CRIME DOCUSERIES
WASHINGTON: Singer-actor Selena Gomez has inked a deal with Univision, marking her first producer role for a Spanish-language series.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, under the deal, Gomez will expand her brand into Spanish-language TV and film production. The 29-year-old singer-actor, along with her production company, July Moon Productions, signed a deal to produce Univision’s true-crime docuseries ‘Mi Vecino, El Cartel’ (which means The Cartel Among Us).
The project will air on Univision’s forthcoming subscription streaming service.
The upcoming series will follow the murder of Juan Guerrero Chap, a former cartel lawyer and high-level cooperator for the US government. In a release, the network said the case “rocked a quiet suburban town in Texas and launched a multiyear international investigation.”
Speaking about her production venture, Gomez said, “As a true crime fan, I was immediately captivated when I heard the story surrounding the homicide of Juan Guerrero Chapa. Not only did it take place close to my hometown in Texas, but it was also a story, unlike anything I’ve ever heard.”
She added, “I am excited to partner with Univision and really pull back the layers of his double life.” Blackfin, under Hasbro’s eOne umbrella, is also on board as a producer.
GOT UNFIT OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS: ALAYA F
MUMBAI: Actor Alaya F feels she has got “very unfit” over the last few months.
On Wednesday, Alaya took to her Instagram account and gave a brief update about her health and fitness. “Got very unfit over the last few months, I was so caught up in my work commitments that I stopped taking care of my body and lost a lot of my strength.. things that used to be so easy to do now feel so hard.. which can be so demotivating. But I’m slowly and steadily taking back control and inching towards a healthier, fitter, stronger me again,” she wrote.
Alongside the note, Alaya posted a video of her doing work out. Reacting to the clip, her ‘Freddy’ co-star Kartik Aaryan quipped, “Ye unfit hai?” Alaya, who made her Bollywood debut with Saif Ali Khan’s ‘Jawaani Jaaneman’ in 2019, will next be seen in ‘Freddy’ and ‘U Turn’.
WOMEN WILL LOVE MY CHARACTER IN ‘ATRANGI RE’: SARA
NEW DELHI: Ahead of the release of ‘Atrangi Re’, actor Sara Ali Khan opened up about her character of Rinku in the film.
According to her, women will definitely fall in love with her role. “I absolutely fell in love with Rinku during my process of playing her. Rinku as a character, is loud, assertive and confident as her external characteristics, but then she also has a tinge of innocence in her, which was something very interesting, exciting and challenging for me. Aanand ji really made me fall in love with her, and seep into the character. I think every woman in today’s generation will love Rinku. She knows exactly what she wants and goes for it without any apprehension or hesitation. Playing ‘Rinku’ on screen was in a way a very fulfilling and an enriching experience,” Sara said.
‘Atrangi Re’ is directed by Aanand L Rai. It also stars Akshay Kumar and Dhanush.
CELEBRITIES JET OFF TO JAIPUR FOR KATRINA, VICKY’S WEDDING
JAIPUR: It’s time for the wedding of the year! Bollywood stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal will tie the knot on December 9 at Six Senses Fort Barwara, Rajasthan, and guests have already started arriving for the big fat wedding.
Radhika Madan, was spotted at the Jaipur Airport on Tuesday. Katrina Kaif’s ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ director Nitya Mehra and Vicky Kaushal’s close friend and actor Malavika Mohanan were also seen at the airport. Other celebrities who have arrived on Tuesday include Vijay Krishna Acharya and ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ actor Sharvari. Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi were also spotted at the Mumbai aiport.
SARA TURNS EMOTIONAL AS ‘KEDARNATH’ COMPLETES 3 YEARS
MUMBAI: Yesterday was a special day for actress Sara Ali Khan as her first film ‘Kedarnath’ completed three years since its release.
Taking to Instagram, she penned a heartfelt post. “3 years ago my biggest dream came true. I became an actor, and my first, and most special film released. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to explain how much Kedarnath means to me- the place, the film, the memories, all of it,” she wrote.
The film’s third anniversary has also made Sara emotional as it brought back her memories with late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who had essayed the role of her love interest. “But today I’m really missing my Mansoor. It’s only because of Sushant’s unwavering support, selfless help, constant guidance and compassionate advice that Mukku was able to reach your hearts. From Kedarnath to Andromeda. Miss you forever Sushant,” she added.
Sara also thanked director of the film Abhishek Kapoor for giving her the opportunity to act in ‘Kedarnath’.
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