Nature & Environment
Dogs able to read happy or angry expressions
By T.K. Randall
February 13, 2015 · 29 comments
Dogs are surprisingly good at determining how you feel. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Bodlina
A new study has confirmed that dogs are adept at reading the emotions of their human owners.
Most dog owners would agree that their canine companions are well aware of how they feel, but now scientists have determined that dogs are far better at reading human facial expressions than we have previously given them credit for.
Biologist Corsin Muller and his colleages at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna conducted an experiment in which they trained 11 dogs to touch either a happy or angry face on a computer screen in return for a treat.
Each of the dogs was shown either the top or bottom half of a face, each exhibiting a specific emotional expression that the animals would be attempting to identify through simple observation.
The results showed that the dogs were able to successfully pick out both the happy and angry faces, even though it took them a little longer to identify the angrier faces than the happier ones.
The researchers believe that their ability to do this stems from the amount of time that they spend with humans which affords them ample opportunity to observe our emotions and expressions.
The greater awareness of happy over angry facial expressions could also be attributed to the negative association of anger with a lower chance of positive contact with their human owners.
Source: National Geographic
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