New research shows dogs can form abstract mental representations of negative and positive human emotions and recognize how their owner is feeling.
Researchers have recently found dogs can recognise human emotions by combining information from different senses.
They are the only creatures other than humans which apparently have that ability.
University animal behaviour experts and psychologists demonstrated that dogs form abstract mental representations of positive and negative human emotions, and don’t just display learned behaviours.
Dogs are also good at recognising each other’s emotions.
Seventeen domestic dogs in the experiment were shown pairs of pictures, either of a person, one happy, one angry, or of a dog looking playful or aggressive. They were then played sounds of playful or aggressive barks or a person’s voice saying “come here” in either a cheerful or angry tone.
The scientists found that the dogs tended to look at the picture matching the tone of voice, and were able to pick out the right human facial expression more often than not.
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