Dogs Can Distinguish Human Facial Expressions [Study]

As amazing as it may sound, European scientists have discovered that dogs have the ability to distinguish human facial expressions.

According to a study published in the journal Current Biology, researchers have found out that dogs are very good at reading human emotions and can tell a good facial expression from a bad one.

Experts at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna conducted an experiment in which they tested the ability of dogs to distinguish human facial expressions.

Research Reveals That Dogs Can Distinguish Human Facial Expressions

During the experiment, the dogs had to memorize people's faces and identify them on a touch screen in exchange for a tasty snack.

At each stage of the experiment, the scientists showed the dogs two photographs of a human's face, without making the lips and forehead portions visible, because they easily betray the emotions the person was reliving at the time.
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The animal had to memorize the images and choose a good facial expression or a bad one, depending on the command it was given. If the answer was correct, the animal was rewarded with a portion of dog food.

The study showed that the dog's choices were far from random - the number of correct responses averaged 65-80%, demonstrating that dogs know how different human emotions manifest themselves and can distinguish between human facial expressions associated with them.

It is notable that dogs gave fewer correct answers when they had to choose a bad facial expression.

A Mystery  About Dogs

Experts do not know at this time whether the ability to distinguish human facial expressions is an innate ability or was developed as a result of frequent human interactions with dogs.

However, scientists plan to find an answer to this and other important questions in research they plan to conduct in the future.

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