More and more studies are being done with dogs and proof continues to grow that your best friend can read yours and other people's emotions. One of the latest studies focused on human facial expressions and how dogs responded to different “looks” in association with receiving a treat. Very interesting pup stuff!
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Whether it's with a sympathetic tilt of the head or the excited sweep of a tail, dogs seem to be saying they can sense exactly what we're feeling.
Science is still undecided on the matter, although evidence in favor of the idea is stacking up.
Now, a new study has found that dogs are able to tell the difference between happy and angry human facial expressions. (Related: “Animal Minds” in National Geographic magazine.)
Biologist Corsin Müller of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria, and colleagues tested 11 dogs—including border collies, a fox terrier, a golden retriever, a German shepherd, and some mutts—using a touchscreen. The scientists trained the dogs to touch either a happy face or an angry face for a treat.
They presented dogs with either the top half or the bottom half of the faces to ensure the animals weren't just responding to a smile or the baring of teeth. Emotions show on all parts of a human face, not just the mouth, says Müller, whose study was published February 12 in the journal Current Biology.
“If you're angry, a wrinkle between the eyes shows up,” he explains. The shape of the eyes can change too.
So if the dogs were truly able to spot an emotion, they should be able to do so regardless of which part of the face they looked at.
Once Müller and colleagues trained the dogs, they ran them through choice trials, in which the animals had to pick between strange faces with either happy or angry expressions. The researchers presented the pooches with either the top, bottom, or left half of a face.
The scientists chose the left half because previous studies found that dogs prefer to look at the left side of a face.
Go here to read the rest of this great article: National Geographic
Source: National Geographic
Photo Source: Cary Bass-Deschenes
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