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You have to learn to understand dogs

Humans’ ability to read dogs’ facial expressions is not innate

The first comprehensive study of the human ability to recognize the facial expressions of dogs suggests this ability is mainly acquired through age and experience and is not an evolutionarily selected trait, and in adults is better in those growing up in dog-positive cultural contexts. In a recent study published in Scientific Reports, a team of German and British researchers assessed how experience with dogs affects humans’ ability to recognize dog emotions. Participants who grew up in a cultural context with a dog-friendly attitude were more proficient at recognizing dog emotions. This suggests that the ability to recognize dogs’ expressions is learned through age and experience and is not an evolutionary adaptation.

© Juliane Bräuer