Your Horse (UK) - - News & Views -

A study at the Univer­sity of Tokyo has dis­cov­ered the ex­cit­ing news that horses can recog­nise emo­tion in our faces and voices. Hu­mans have lived with do­mes­ti­cated horses for 5,500 years and of­ten share a close re­la­tion­ship. While recognition of so­cial sig­nals plays an im­por­tant role in how the two species in­ter­act, lit­tle has been done to un­der­stand horses’ aware­ness of hu­man emo­tions. Un­til now, that is. Nine­teen horses were shown pic­tures of peo­ple look­ing happy or an­gry and then played a record­ing of a hu­man voice that was ei­ther gen­tle or scold­ing. The re­searchers clearly ob­served that the horses looked at the speaker’s picture for sig­nif­i­cantly longer when the emo­tion con­veyed in the voice did not match that in the picture, than when it did. They con­cluded that horses can dis­tin­guish hu­man emo­tions us­ing mul­ti­ple senses and that emo­tional in­for­ma­tion has played an im­por­tant role through­out the his­tory of horse/hu­man co­op­er­a­tion. Clever horses!

New re­search shows our horses know more about how we’re feel­ing than we thought

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