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Study Confirms that Dogs Can Read Human Emotions

Update Date: Jan 15, 2016 09:22 AM EST
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Latest study proves that dogs are indeed a man's best friend. They are also the only creatures outside of humans to have the ability to comprehend emotions. Phycologists from University of Lincoln and Sao Paolo and team of animal behavior experts revealed that the dogs formed abstract representation of positive and negative emotions rather than displaying these behaviors. The experiment was conducted on seventeen domestic dogs that were shown pairs of pictures, a happy person and an angry one, or a dog that looked aggressive or playful. They were then played sounds of aggressive and cheerful tone of both the dog and the person, reports Telegraph.

"Previous studies have indicated that dogs can differentiate between human emotions from cues such as facial expressions, but this is not the same as emotional recognition," said Kun Guo from the University of Lincoln. "Our study shows that dogs have the ability to integrate two different sources of sensory information into a coherent perception of emotion in both humans and dogs. To do so requires a system of internal categorization of emotional states," says Science Daily

Daniel Mills, co-author professor, from the University of Lincoln said, "It has been a long-standing debate whether dogs can recognize human emotions. Many dog owners report anecdotally that their pets seem highly sensitive to the moods of human family members. "However, there is an important difference between associative behavior, such as learning to respond appropriately to an angry voice, and recognizing a range of very different cues that go together to indicate emotional arousal in another. Our findings are the first to show that dogs truly recognize emotions in humans and other dogs. "Importantly, the dogs in our trials received no prior training or period of familiarization with the subjects in the images or audio. This suggests that dogs' ability to combine emotional cues may be intrinsic. As a highly social species, such a tool would have been advantageous and the detection of emotion in humans may even have been selected for over generations of domestication by us," reports Science Daily

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