Dogs read facial expressions
Dogs read facial expressions like infants
Published in Current Biology, the study suggests that dogs can read our communicative intent – meaning our intention to interact with them. This is done via our facial expressions – this is an ability that is also possessed by very young humans.
“Increasing evidence supports the notion that humans and dogs share some social skills, with dogs’ social-cognitive functioning resembling that of a 6-month to 2-year-old child in many respects,” study researcher Jozsef Topal of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, said in a statement. “The utilization of ostensive cues is one of these features: dogs, as well as human infants, are sensitive to cues that signal communicative intent.”
In order to test these ideas, Topal tracked the eye movements of dogs as they watched videos of human beings doing different activities, mainly making an intro and turning to pots.
Whenever a person said “Hi dog!” using a high pitched tone in their voice and looked directly at the dog, and then turned to the pot, the dogs were much more likely to look at the pot. If the human repeated the act with a low pitched voice they were more likely to avoid eye contact.
“Our findings reveal that dogs are receptive to human communication in a manner that was previously attributed only to human infants,” Topal said in the statement.
However, Deleta Jones, a dog trainer from California, told MSNBC that she doesn’t think the finding means dogs have evolved in any certain way to interact with humans — rather, that’s just how they react with anyone they come into contact with, whether it be dogs or humans.
We all love to think that our dogs just get us, and in this case it may show that is true. One thing will always be true, we all talk to our dogs as if they know exactly what we are saying.