If you ever get the impression (thought or feeling about something) that your dog can “tell” whether you look content or annoyed (angry), you may be onto something (know something). Dogs may be able to discriminate between happy and angry human faces.
Researchers trained a group of 11 dogs to distinguish between images of the same person making either a happy or an angry face. During the training stage, each dog was shown only the upper half or the lower half of the person’s face.
The investigators (researchers) then tested the dogs’ ability to discriminate between human facial expressions by showing them different images from the ones used in training. The dogs were shown either the other half of the face used in the training stage, or the other halves of people’s faces not used in training, or a face that was the same half as the training face but from a different person, or the left half of the face used in the training stage.
The researchers found that the dogs were able to pick the angry or happy face by touching a picture of it with their noses more often than one would expect by random chance (happening without any plan). The study showed the animals had figured out how to transfer what they learned about human faces during training to new faces in the testing stage.
Previous research had shown that dogs are able to distinguish between different expressions in people they are familiar with, even if the animals are shown only part of the face, such as the eye region. The results here show that the successful dogs realized that a smiling mouth means the same thing as smiling eyes.
At this point, it is not clear why dogs seem to have the ability to recognize different facial expressions in humans. To us, the best explanation (reason we give for why something happens) could be that the dogs and humans have lived together for a long time, during which the dogs get a lot of exposure to (experience with) human facial expressions and this exposure has provided them with many opportunities to learn to distinguish between them.
So, the next time I feel down (not so good), I should probably ask Jack, my pudgy-faced dog, to help me out (my dog’s face is fairly fat).0 This entry was posted in Reading stage 1 by Parviz with ۱ comment