Date: 09 Sep 2012
Can domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) use referential emotional expressions to locate hidden food?
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Although many studies have investigated domestic dogs’ (Canis familiaris) use of human communicative cues, little is known about their use of humans’ emotional expressions. We conducted a study following the general paradigm of Repacholi in Dev Psychol 34:1017–1025, (1998) and tested four breeds of dogs in the laboratory and another breed in the open air. In our study, a human reacted emotionally (happy, neutral or disgust) to the hidden contents of two boxes, after which the dog was then allowed to choose one of the boxes. Dogs tested in the laboratory distinguished between the most distinct of the expressed emotions (Happy–Disgust condition) by choosing appropriately, but performed at chance level when the two emotions were less distinct (Happy–Neutral condition). The breed tested in the open air passed both conditions, but this breed’s differing testing setup might have been responsible for their success. Although without meaningful emotional expressions, when given a choice, these subjects chose randomly, their performance did not differ from that in the experimental conditions. Based on the findings revealed in the laboratory, we suggest that some domestic dogs recognize both the directedness and the valence of some human emotional expressions.
Ekman P, Friesen WV (1975) Unmasking the face. A guide to recognizing emotions from facial clues. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Mills DS, Fukuzawa M, Cooper JJ (2005) The effect of emotional content of verbal commands on the response of dogs. In: Mills D et al (eds) Current issues and research in veterinary behavioural medicine—papers presented at the 5th international veterinary behavior meeting, Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, pp 217–220
Nelson CA (1987) The recognition of facial expressions in the 1st 2 years of life—mechanisms of development. Child Dev 58:889–909. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130530
- Can domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) use referential emotional expressions to locate hidden food?
Volume 16, Issue 1 , pp 137-145
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- Emotional expressions
- Domestic dogs
- Object choice
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Research Group “Kleinkindforschung in Thueringen”, University of Erfurt, Nordhaeuser Str. 63, 99089, Erfurt, Germany
- 2. Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany