Study Finds Pig Voices Depend on Personality

New research suggests that pigs have personalities and communicate emotional states through unique vocalizations.


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A new study published in the Royal Science Society’s journal Open Science revealed that pigs have specific vocalizations and use their grunts to indicate location, express emotions, and to interact with other pigs. Conducted by researchers from the University of Lincoln, UK and Queen’s University Belfast, the study focused on the vocal patterns of 72 male and female pigs placed in environments of different comfort levels and found that animals with more proactive personalities produced grunts more frequently than pigs with reactive personalities. “The domestic pig is a highly social and vocal species which uses acoustic signals in a variety of ways; maintaining contact with other group members while foraging, parent-offspring communication, or to signal if they are distressed,” lead researcher Lisa Collins said. “The sounds they make convey a wide range of information such as the emotional, motivational, and physiological state of the animal.” This research adds to the findings of several studies focused on pig intelligence that prove pigs have ultra-sensitive hearing, can ascertain human emotions based on head positions, and possess self-awareness.

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