Research has been done to figure out the emotional connection between man and dog. Published in the journal Biology Letters, this research involved experiments with dogs and humans to measure emotions like happiness or anger based on facial expressions and vocalizations. Intrigued yet?
A study involved 17 dogs from England. They were put through two rounds of experiments in a lab. Imagine this: a dog was put in front of two screens. On those screens were either other dogs or humans with either a happy or angry facial expression. Then, the images were paired with sounds that were either happy or angry, such as an aggressively barking dog.
Dogs looked longer at the complimentary images and sounds. Therefore, when a dog was on the screen with an angry scowl and angry barking noises were accompanying the image, the research dogs looked longer than when a facial expression did not match the sound. If a neutral sound was used, dogs didn’t pay as much attention. Researchers concluded that dogs essentially recognized emotions in this unique study.
While many people assume dogs connect with humans on instinct, researchers believe it’s more a sign of cognitive ability. Just like humans, they can discern how others feel based on looks and sounds. Fascinating, isn’t it?
So the next time you look at your dog with a sad expression on your face, consider that he or she might actually realize you’re sad and stare lovingly back at you. And when you’re in a good mood, chances are your dog will recognize that and be in a good mood, too. No wonder they’re affectionately known as “man’s best friend.” Dogs are more like us than we know!
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