Goats Do Not Like Your Grumpy Face

Goats reacted differently to happy faces than to angry faces

Goats reacted differently to happy faces than to angry faces Credit Barcroft Media

(More precisely, he studies behaviour and cognition in goats.) "One of the limitations is that we do not know yet if they, in general, prefer happy faces or if they might have avoided interacting with angry faces".

The study, which was carried out at Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in Maidstone, found the animals preferred to look at and interact with the former.

Get out there and smile at a goat if you get the chance! "Therefore, it is possible that goats may also possess the ability to perceive more subtle communicative cues, such as human facial expressions that are linked to emotions".

The humble goat can recognise when humans are smiling. just like dogs and horses, according to new research.

'If they have animals like that, that they will realize that they are not stupid, ' he said.

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Then, the pasta-giver was replaced by two large, side-by-side photos of human faces, one smiling and one angrily frowning, tacked to the metal meshes.

"For dogs, for example, the left-hemisphere of the brain process more positive emotions which can induce to a right gaze bias". The researchers also switched up the positions of the images, with the positive image sometimes being on the right side of the pen, and other times on the left.

The ability of animals to perceive emotional expressions is not limited to those with a long history of domestication as companions.

In the first study to ever assess this on goats, researchers explain that goats can differentiate between happy and angry facial reactions, and they prefer happy ones.

"Here, we show for the first time that goats do not only distinguish between these expressions, but they also prefer to interact with happy ones".

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Researchers think the study could be important for animal welfare if it shows that animals understand emotions more than they thought.

The study of emotion perception has already revealed complex capabilities in dogs and horses, says co-author Natalia Albuquerque, from the University of Sao Paulo.

Working with 35 goats who live at Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in the United Kingdom, the researchers first trained the animals with treats-pieces of dry pasta, which goats absolutely love-to walk forward about 3.96m toward a person crouching in front flat pieces of metal mesh that kind of resembled blank bulletin boards.

The findings suggested "livestock species have very sophisticated minds to interpret their environment", said Nawroth, and "likely adapt their behaviour" based on human facial expressions.

The study builds on the field exploring the inner lives of domesticated animals.

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