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Do Dogs Know Related Rates Instead of Optimization

by Pierre Perruchet and Jorge Gallego

This article originally appeared in:
College Mathematics Journal
January, 2006

Subject classification(s): Calculus | Single Variable Calculus | Differentiation
Applicable Course(s): 3.1 Mainstream Calculus I | 3.4 Non-mainstream Calc I

This capsule discusses the mathematics of a real-life experience with dogs playing fetch into the water. The leap-off point chosen by the dog turned out to ones that will either minimize the time for the dog to fetch the ball and return to the shore or maximize its speed of approaching the fetched object. The authors argue that the latter is a more plausible explanation to dogs' behavior.

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Capsule Course Topic(s):
One-Variable Calculus | Differentiation: Definition and Elementary Application
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