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I read an interesting article in the Orlando Sentinel the other day that talked about a new study that shows that your dog is very good at discriminating happy faces from angry ones.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, is the first to show that an animal can read our expressions.
The article gives a quote from Duke University expert Brian Hare “This new work continues to build the case for just how sensitive dogs are to our subtle behaviors.”
The article talks about the study, where 11 dogs stood in front of a computer screen that showed two images of a person – one with an angry face and one with a happy face. To make it more difficult, the screen only showed half of each face – either the top (mostly the eyes) or the bottom (showing mostly the mouth).
Each dog was trained to either pick a happy or angry face. They were rewarded with a treat when they touched the right face on the screen.
During the test, the dogs once again had to pick the angry or happy face, but this time researchers sometimes showed them different parts of the face than was used during training.
The dogs chose correctly about 70 to 80 percent of the time! That’s pretty cool!