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Dogs ‘Read’ Facial Cues

A Hungarian study finds that dogs can understand human communication cues as well as infants can.


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A new study published in Current Biology suggests that dogs can comprehend human communication cues, such as eye contact and directed speech, as well as human infants can. Researchers at Hungary’s Central European University studied dogs’ responses to a series of video recordings featuring a woman standing beside two plastic containers. In the study’s first trial, the video showed the woman making eye contact with and addressing the dogs directly before turning toward a plastic container. In the second trial, the woman addressed the dogs indirectly and without eye contact before turning toward a container. By tracking the dogs’ eye movements, researchers found that the animals tended to look at the same container as the woman when they were addressed directly, suggesting that dogs, like infants, are sensitive to human communication signals.

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