Detection of temporal patterns in dog-human interaction

A. Kerepesi*, G. K. Jonsson, Á Miklósi, J. Topál, V. Csányi, M. S. Magnusson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


A new time structure model and pattern detection procedures developed by (Magnusson, M.S., 1996. Hidden real-time patterns in intra- and inter-individual behaviour description and detection. Eur. J. Psychol. Assess. 12, 112-123; Magnusson, M.S., 2000. Discovering hidden time patterns in behaviour: T-patterns and their detection. Behav. Res. Methods, Instrum. Comput. 32, 93-110) enables us to detect complex temporal patterns in behaviour. This method has been used successfully in studying human and neuronal interactions (Anolli, L., Duncan, S. Magnusson, M.S., Riva G. (Eds.), 2005. The Hidden Structure of Interaction, IOS Press, Amsterdam). We assume that similarly to interactions between humans, cooperative and communicative interaction between dogs and humans also consist of patterns in time. We coded and analyzed a cooperative situation when the owner instructs the dog to help build a tower and complete the task. In this situation, a cooperative interaction developed spontaneously, and occurrences of hidden time patterns in behaviour can be expected. We have found such complex temporal patterns (T-patterns) in each pair during the task that cannot be detected by "standard" behaviour analysis. During cooperative interactions the dogs' and humans' behaviour becomes organized into interactive temporal patterns and that dog-human interaction is much more regular than yet has been thought. We have found that communicative behaviour units and action units can be detected in the same T-pattern during cooperative interactions. Comparing the T-patterns detected in the dog-human dyads, we have found a typical sequence emerging during the task, which was the outline of the successfully completed task. Such temporal patterns were conspicuously missing from the "randomized data" that gives additional support to the claim that interactive T-patterns do not occur by chance or arbitrarily but play a functional role during the task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-79
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural Processes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Hungarian Science Foundation (OTKA T043763) and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (F01/031). We would like to thank Krisztina Soproni for allowing us to use her video recordings to run this analysis.

Other keywords

  • Cooperative interactions
  • Dog-human interaction
  • Temporal patterns


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