Do Dogs React to Tears?
The jury's out on whether your dog can understand your rants and confessions, but researchers at the University of London Department of Psychology have found that dogs do react to tears according to a LiveScience report.
In the experiment published in Animal Journal, researcher Jennifer Mayer visited the subjects in their homes. She and each dog owner took turns talking, pretending to cry, and humming. She and her colleague, Deborah Custance, repeated this method with 18 owners. They found that dogs were much more likely to approach the person crying, whether it was Mayer or the owner.
The study certainly complicates our understanding of human-animal relationships. We have to wonder what other domestic animals and even wildlife can connect on some level to human emotions. While the researchers hesitate to conclude that dogs feel empathy or understand emotions, anyone whose spent a significant amount of time with a dog (or on YouTube) probably has something else to say. Wait to form your opinion until after watching this video (below) of a hilarious hound comforting a crying baby.
--by Krislyn Placide / Image by iStockphoto/cynoclub
Krislyn Placide is an editorial intern at Sierra going into her fourth year of journalism school at Northwestern University. When she's not updating the blog, she likes running through parks and eating her weight in watermelon.