Scientists have discovered why dogs love smiling people

© Depositphotos / ChalabalaСобакаScientists have discovered why dogs love smiling people© Depositphotos / Chalabala

Finnish zoologists have found that dogs are not only able to recognize emotions on human faces, and but also respond to them almost as much as the people producing the happiness hormone in response to a smile and kindness, said in an article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

«It seems that oxytocin, the happiness hormone, affects how the world perceives the dog, and how it is influenced by those things and events that she sees in the current time,» explains Soni Sanni (Sanni Somppi) from the University of Helsinki (Finland).

Dogs have long been considered a kind of «Pavlov’s machines» – in fact, bio-robots, whose main goal is to search for food and reproduction. The owner in this case is for them a kind of trough, and not another living being. Recently these ideas have begun to be criticized, and many psychologists and biologists believe that human interaction itself plays an important role in the life of dogs.

For example, recently neuroscientists have found that dogs are able to understand the tone and meaning of words that they are told the owners that they are communicating with people not for food, but for the sake of attention and positive emotions, and that they are able to recognize emotions on the face of familiar and unfamiliar people. In addition, dogs were able to remember «useless» information and use it later when communicating with the host.

Some, and his colleagues have discovered another unusual feature of dog that makes them similar to people watching as a nasal spray containing a molecule of oxytocin, affect the behavior of Pets in various social situations.

A few years ago, as they say zoologists, their Japanese colleagues noted that the body of dogs and their owners, facing each other in the eye, increased level of «happiness hormone». It pointed out that «man’s best friend» are able to recognize emotions and to empathize with the owner and uncovered a possible mechanism of how they can «tame» men and make them their supporters.

On the other hand, experiments with oxytocin, which was carried out on volunteers in the recent past show that taking this hormone makes people more trusting and friendly. Guided by these two ideas, Finnish scientists tested whether there will be something similar with the dogs, watching where I watched dogs and how to change the size of their pupils when viewing photographs of «evil» and «good» people.

As shown by these experiments, dogs are able to recognize positive and negative emotions, which was reflected in the fact that they looked at different facial parts «good» and «evil» people – to smile first and his eyes last. This same ability has shown itself in the fact that the pupils of animals were widened from fear in that moment, when they looked at people with a menacing face, and didn’t change when they watched the happy, smiling strangers.

The administration of oxytocin increased and somewhat changed these reactions. Dog relaxed and no longer react strongly to negative emotions, and began to look at the eyes and the mouth of evil people. On the other hand, the «happiness hormone» in General made them more interested in and pay attention to the kind person and to show more emotion than the observations of «evil» portraits.

Such an unusual reaction dog oxytocin, as scientists believe, explains why they like the friendly and kind faces of the people, and is another argument in favor of the fact that this hormone was the main driving force of the process of domestication «of man’s best friends», allowing them to take in a man’s heart is actually the same place as his own children.