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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    A recent study from the University of Helsinki shows that the social gazing behavior of domestic dogs resembles that of humans: dogs view facial expressions systematically, preferring eyes. In addition, the facial expression alters their viewing behavior, especially in the face of threat. The study was recently published in the science journal PLOS ONE.[/]

    Threatening faces evoke unique responses in dogs

    The study utilized eye gaze tracking to demonstrate how dogs view the emotional expressions of dog and human faces. Dogs looked first at the eye region and generally examined eyes longer than nose or mouth areas. Species-specific characteristics of certain expressions attracted their attention, for example the mouths of threatening dogs. However, dogs appeared to base their perception of facial expressions on the whole face.

    Threatening faces evoked attentional bias, which may be based on an evolutionary adaptive mechanism: the sensitivity to detect and avoid threats represents a survival advantage. Interestingly, dogs' viewing behavior was dependent on the depicted species: threatening conspecifics' faces evoked longer looking but threatening human faces instead an avoidance response. Threatening signals carrying different biological validity are most likely processed via distinctive neurocognitive pathways.

    "The tolerant behavior strategy of dogs toward humans may partially explain the results. Domestication may have equipped dogs with a sensitivity to detect the threat signals of humans and respond them with pronounced appeasement signals," says researcher Sanni Somppi from the University of Helsinki.

    Results provide support for Darwin's views of animal emotions

    This is the first evidence of emotion-related gaze patterns in non-primates. Already 150 years ago Charles Darwin proposed that the analogies in the form and function of human and non-human animal emotional expressions suggest shared evolutionary roots. Recent findings provide modern scientific support for Darwin's old argument.

    Exploring canine mind with dog-friendly methods

    A total of 31 dogs of 13 different breeds attended the study. Prior the experiment the dogs were clicker-trained to stay still in front of a monitor without being commanded or restrained. Due to positive training approach, dogs were highly motivated to perform the task.

    The study is part of the collaboration project of Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and Behavioural Science, University of Helsinki and Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Aalto University. Previously, the research group of professor Outi Vainio from the University of Helsinki has discovered that socially informative objects in images, as personally familiar faces and social interaction, attract dogs' attention.

    The research group of Professor Outi Vainio explores cognition and emotion in dogs in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Helsinki. The study has been supported inter alia by the Academy of Finland and the Emil Aaltonen Foundation.


    Though not a drug news story (and it happening to be a slow news day) I thought this piece on how dogs read our emotions through our faces of interest to many DF members, since we appear to be a very animal-loving group of people.

    University of Helsinki/Jan, 19, 2016
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Reclaimer
    Reading this i kinda wanna go make weird faces at my dogs, but im pretty sure neither of them would give a fuck..
  2. Beenthere2Hippie
    Hehe. Agreed, but it remains funny to think about.
  3. Reclaimer
    I didn't notice in the article and perhaps either i skimmed to fast or they failed to mention but were the people who the dogs were looking at, the owners or strangers ?

    Because lets say the dog knows the person, regardless of the face unless seriously threating which the dog is well used to for example, would not really provoke any reaction from the dog other then oh shit its my owner does he got a treat for me? i mean seriously the dog knows you so its not going to react the same as it would if for example..

    A stranger makes a face at the dog, the dog will react because it don't know the person, its never seen its previous behavior so it has nothing to base any judgement on, so its more likely to take any face 1 way or the other an that will depend on the dogs natural temperment... If hes an aggressive dog hes likely to take any face as an act of aggression, or if hes a naturally loving cuddly fur ball, hes likely to just lick your face off..
  4. perro-salchicha614
    Yeah, I don't think my dog would care much either. He'd probably just give me that look like, "Where's my Milk Bone?"

    Is it just me, or is the guy in the pleasant column pretty threatening - looking too? Something about his face kind of creeps me out... :p
  5. trdofbeingtrd
    Make them yawn, dogs are contagious to yawning. Try it.
  6. mrs.badger
    Dogs are also attuned to our tone of voice.
  7. Beenthere2Hippie
    Dogs absolutely know what you're saying.

    My kids used to tease our lab so bad. They'd make up sentences of all our dog's trigger words--like cookie, outside, wanna go in the car? "mommy's home!"--and have the dog running from kitchen to front door to frig. They'd be rolling on the floor in laughter, teasing the poor drooling dog.

    He seemed to recognize facial meaning somewhat too. At least it seemed so. Labs are smart.

    Do miss that beautiful boy.
  8. Bango Skank
    Lmao at Reclaimer! Same here, I'm making faces at them now, and they look pretty confused, but wagging their tails.

    They are definitely more in tune with their masters than some would think. My Bailey just knows when I'm depressed, and she seems to really try to cheer me up. Maybe I'm crazy though.
  9. perro-salchicha614
    My dog actually tends to avoid me when I'm depressed, especially if I'm crying. I think it scares him or something.
  10. detoxin momma
    my dog shivers when i get frustrated. she hasnt been shaking much lately. thank god!
    my cat sleeps very peacefully when i do to.

    positive vibes spread as much as negative do, i believe that.
  11. Beenthere2Hippie
    I've always noticed that both my cats and my dogs would yawn out of anxiety. When stressed (each having their own particular triggers) they would yawn, the dogs often with a little doggy moan. I asked my vet about that and she said it can be a sign of anxiousness for sure. Weird, huh?

    Wish people were that easy to read lol.
  12. perro-salchicha614
    My dog does that yawning/moaning thing too, especially really early in the morning. It's kind of frustrating, because I can't always figure out what's upsetting him. He usually calms down if I put him in bed with me, though.
  13. Once.up.on.a.time
    My mum has 3 dogs Schitzu if it makes a difference?

    When my little lady stays over, the youngest lets her be its mummy n put it on the dolls pram.

    Cuddle her and the dog will lick her and look for her when she goes.

    The other two. Who are her mum n dad hide from the moment they see us coming down the drive way with her. They are the mum n dad of the baby.

    The boy hides under the stairs ( my mum has glass stairs so there is one step them a big piece then the others are against the wall. He hides under there. It's always been his go to place since a pup. But when my little one is there he won't come out he doesn't care much for her.

    From when she was smaller but he holds a grudge no joke.

    The mummy dog will sit away from her but u can tell she's looking out for my mum and her baby dog.

    They certainly are slightly eccentric.

    Our first dog was a rescue dog a cross terroir he was amazing. He was abandoned on the motorway and we got him as a tiny pup. He was all skinny and he was like bambi his long legs were too tall for a puppy.

    He passed away just 2 years ago. I will miss him forever.

    I know he is in the house when I go to my mummy's. She is sceptical when I tell her things like that. But she's seen too much with me over the years now so she knows. Now she believes more she's heard him walking. Which is like a trot, no mistake it's him. And he wore a bell. None of the others do.

    I've heard it and now after really listening and not just dismissing it, like years ago. She's heard him trotting and the other dogs follow the sound. Like it always was. He was the boss.

    An irrelivent somewhat story. But animals are more than just an animal no doubt. They are clever.

    Much love animals are amazing xxxxx
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