New test looks at how well canines can read faces
Anjuli Barber/Messerli Research Institute
Sit. Stay. Discriminate. Dogs really may be as good as their owners claim at distinguishing emotional expressions in a human face, researchers report online February 12 in Current Biology.
Dogs bumping their noses against a touch pad showing just the tops or bottoms of human faces did well at picking out the happy or mad expressions, reports cognitive biologist Corsin Müller of the Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. The test animals, mostly border collies, could pass this tough test when pictures showed the opposite half of faces from the half used to train the dogs. And the animals still performed well when researchers mixed in face parts from faces the dogs had never seen, or jumbled the tops of faces with mouths and chins from different people.
What dogs really understand about the human emotions