Study shows humans can detect dog emotions

Study suggests years of kinship have developed empathy

Bart the Dumpster DogSan Francisco, CA — (SBWIRE) — 04/12/2013 — Many humans believe their dog shows a bit of a guilty face at times, though science has proven we likely more often project our own belief of such an emotion on our best friends. Still, it seems that humans do have an ability to recognize more realistic emotions in our dogs, according to a new study.

Scientists believe that humans may have developed a natural empathy with dogs that has evolved as the two species developed side by side for nearly 100,000 years.

The new study has found that humans are able to identify precise emotional ranges in dogs based upon slight movements in their facial expression. The human mind is naturally attuned to note specific within their pets to know how they are feeling, and can correctly spot when a particular animal is happy, sad, angry, scared, or even surprised (guilty, as mentioned before, seems to be more a projection).

Volunteers were given an opportunity to show this ability in humans as they were given a range of different images of the same dog. The volunteers were able to detect the exact emotion of the animal by facial expression.

Dr Tina Bloom, a psychologist who led the research, said: “There is no doubt that humans have the ability to recognize emotional states in other humans and accurately read other humans’ facial expressions.”

She continued: “We have shown humans are also able to accurately – if not perfectly – identify at least one dog’s facial expressions. Although humans often think of themselves as disconnected or even isolated from nature, our study suggests there are patterns that connect, and one of these is in the form of emotional communication.”

The study has been published in the journal Behavioral Processes, and used the images of a police dog named Mal for the range of emotions.

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This article, New Study Shows Humans Can Detect Dog Emotions, is syndicated from SBWire and is posted here with permission.
Photo courtesy of AfroDad


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