Have you ever been so upset or angry at one point that you notice your how your dogs avoid contact with you? Or perhaps you were sad or quiet and they just snuggle right up to your face and lick you?
Apparently, dogs are so good at reading human emotions, not only in our facial expressions but also in our vocalizations, that they have adapted to it. According to a study published in Biology Letters, doggies are capable of knowing how you feel, further strengthening the connection between humans and canines. Humans and dogs have lived together for 40,000 years, and somewhere along the way, our animal best friends have evolved to have the skills to read our emotion.
Study leader Natalia de Souza Albuquerque and her team recruited 17 pet dogs and subjected them through two rounds of experiments. In the first trials, each dog was presented with an image of a dog or human with either a happy or angry facial expression. Then, the researchers paired the images a variety of sounds, such as playful or aggressive barking for the images of the dogs, and an angry or happy tone for images of people. The researchers used a different language for the human voices, selecting Brazilian or Portuguese to eliminate the chance that the London dogs are simply reacting English words and not emotion.
When the pups were shown an angry human face and an angry tone or a happy human face and a happy tone, the pups paid attention to the screens much longer than if the image of the facial expression did not match the sound.
According to the researchers, the dogs' paying attention was a clue that the dogs recognized the emotions.
On the other hand, when dogs heard a neutral sound, the animals lost interest, indicating that they had sensed a lack of emotion.
Clearly, dogs have evolved precisely to live among humans. "They're very adapted to the human world and the human emotional world," says Albuquerque in a report by National Geographic.