NEW STUDY: Your Dog May Actually Know What You’re Thinking, How You Feel
By Honor Whiteman // January 14, 2016
how dogs can recognize human emotions
MEDICAL NEWS TODAY – Calling all dog owners: does your four-legged friend seem to know when you are feeling sad, happy or angry?
If so, a new study may explain why; dogs recognize human emotions by drawing on different sensory information – an ability that, until now, has only been identified in primates and humans.
Previous research claims that dogs’ ability to differentiate between human emotions is down to “associate behavior” – in which they link certain emotional states to facial expressions or other cues that they have learned.
But according to study coauthor Prof. Daniel Mills – of the School of Life Sciences at the UK’s University of Lincoln – and colleagues, their research challenges this theory.
“It has been a long-standing debate whether dogs can recognize human emotions,” notes Prof. Mills.
“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,” he adds.
“Our findings are the first to show that dogs truly recognize emotions in humans and other dogs.”
CLICK HERE to read more on MedicalNewsToday.com about the recently published research that strongly suggests that dogs combine sensory info to form mental images of our emotional states.