If you ever feel like your dog just “gets you,” research shows you may be onto something.
A new study has found dogs can actually perceive emotions in humans and other dogs, while being able to discriminate between positive and negative emotions from both.
Researchers from universities in the United Kingdom and Brazil studied 17 healthy, socialized family dogs of various breeds.
The dogs were presented with two images of a face, one looking happy and the other angry, and two images of a canine, one playful, the other aggressive. This was coupled along with either a positive, negative or neutral vocalization.
The faces, voices and languages were all unfamiliar to the dogs.
Each subject took part in two, 10-trial sessions; each trial consisted of a different combination of the visible and vocal cue.
Researchers found that the dogs overwhelmingly stared at the expression matching the audio cue they were hearing, in both humans and dogs.
While that may not seem that significant, researchers say it shows the dogs are using a combination of information to determine emotion.
“These results show that domestic dogs can obtain dog and human emotional information from both auditory and visual inputs, and integrate them into a coherent perception of emotion,” the study states.
This ability was previously only known to be exhibited by humans.
The study was recently published in the journal Biology Letters.
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