Animals

Did Horses Evolve To Read Human Emotions?

Researchers have discovered that horses have the ability to interpret human expressions. But just how in tune with our emotions are they?

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Horses Read Emotion in People's Faces (Discovery News)
"Horses understand and react to human facial expressions, suggesting that they get our moods and may even empathize with us. A new study revealing how horses read human emotions puts horses on the very short list of known animals that understand our facial expressions. Only dogs have previously been shown to have the skill."

Functionally Relevant Responses to Human Facial Expressions of Emotion in the Domestic Horse (Equus caballus) (The Royal Society)
"Whether non-human animals can recognize human signals, including emotions, has both scientific and applied importance, and is particularly relevant for domesticated species. This study presents the first evidence of horses' abilities to spontaneously discriminate between positive (happy) and negative (angry) human facial expressions in photographs."

Hierarchical Stimulus Processing by Pigeons (Tufts)
"Understanding how visual stimuli are perceived, discriminated, recognized, and ultimately come to control behavior is one of the central issues in animal cognition. This chapter reviews recent experiments from my laboratory looking at how pigeons process hierarchically-arranged information presented at different spatial scales."