According to a recent study, they are able to distinguish when people are sad, and express empathy when faced to distressed beings.
Scientists from the university of london Goldsmiths ensure that domestic dogs are able to distinguish people who are sad. According to a recent study, these animals express empathy when faced to distressed beings. As published by The avant-Garde, this research seems to confirm that “the dog is man's best friend”.
Two professionals from the Psychology Department of the university, the researcher Mayer, Jennifer, and dr. Deborah Custance, were the ones that developed this modality of research, which focused on discovering if these pets may respond to the emotional states of the people. For this, 18 dogs –of different breeds and ages - were exposed for 20 seconds to four experimental situations, in which the dog's owner or an unfamiliar person pretended to cry, make a buzzing sound strange or carried out a normal conversation.
The reactions of the animals showed unique empathy when people –either their owner or an unknown person - cried. “The dogs approached whoever was crying regardless of their identity. So, they responded to the emotions of the person, not to their own needs, suggesting an empathic behavior,” said Jennifer.
“The humming was designed to provoke the curiosity of the dogs. The fact that the dogs differentiated between crying and said humming indicates that their response to crying was not driven purely by the curiosity,” explained Custance, as published by The avant-Garde. “Rather, the crying elicits a greater emotional response in the dogs.”
According to your own experience, do you think that pets are sensitive to human pain? I Opiná!