Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Bill Roberts


While the social cognitive abilities of the domestic dog (Canisfamiliaris) have received increasing amounts of attention in psychological research over the past 10 years, other aspects of cognition in domestic dogs have remained relatively unexplored. The present studies were designed to determine the spatial memory abilities of domestic dogs. This was accomplished through the use of an 8-arm radiai maze. While radiai mazes are well known in studies of spatial memory in rats and pigeons, obvious size constraints have typically limited its use to small animals. A large maze (4.6 meters in diameter) was constructed for use with dogs. When dogs chose freely among all 8 arms containing food in Experiment 1, they learned to enter all 8 arms with progressively fewer arm visits over triais. In Experiment 2, only 4 arms were used and were baited with 0, 1, 3, and 6 pieces of food. Dogs learned to go to the arms with larger amounts of food before the arms with less food. In Experiment 3, dogs were forced to visit 4 randomly chosen arms and then tested for memory of these arms using a win/shift rule for one group and a win/stay rule for another group. Although the win/shift dogs performed better than the win/stay dogs, the data suggest that dogs do not have as good spatial memory as other species tested on the radiai maze.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.