One of the things that makes Dognition so dynamic and exciting is our use of Citizen Science. What’s Citizen Science? It’s research that can be conducted by anyone who has the time and interest, not just scientists with Ph.Ds and lab coats.
Recently, citizen scientists have discovered new planets and helped researchers understand why babies laugh. There’s even an app for citizen scientists to report discoveries they make in their own backyards. The more help we get from dog-loving people like you, the more we can learn about all dogs, much more quickly and broadly than if we conducted the research ourselves.
How does Dognition use Citizen Science?
When you complete the Dognition Assessment Toolkit, you’ll receive a personalized report that identifies your dog’s unique cognitive style. But that’s just the beginning. Dognition will aggregate and analyze the data to look for patterns related to many different aspects of canine cognition. Traditionally, a small team of canine researchers may only be able to test a few hundred dogs over the course of a decade. Thanks to Dognition, canine researchers will soon be studying the results of hundreds, maybe thousands, of dogs a month who play the games in our Dognition Assessment Toolkit. With of all that data, we may be able to make new, exciting discoveries, faster than ever!
What if I mess up?
We’ve designed the games in the Dognition experience so that any owner can take part without fully knowing the science behind it. And believe it or not, there really are no right and wrong answers!
We’re not looking for specific behaviors from dogs, so we ask you to just follow the instructions and report what you see. Giving us inaccurate data will make your own report inaccurate, but because so many dogs will be participating, the overall data set won’t be significantly affected. So don’t worry and don’t overthink it — just play the games and have fun spending time with your dog!
Who else is doing this?
If you’re ready to learn more about the world of Citizen Science, here are some of our favorite projects:
- Snapshot Serengeti: Hundreds of cameras are capturing millions of photos in the Serengeti National Park. Can you identify the animals you see?
- Eyewire: Help scientists at MIT’s Seung Lab understand how the brain is wired by tracing a 3D structure of neurons in the retina.
- Project: Play with Your Dog: The Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab in New York is conducting research on play between humans and dogs. All you need to do to participate is record and upload a video of yourself playing with your dog.
(photo via petsadviser.com)