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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On empathetic dogs

I found this interesting article about a new study that suggest that domestic dogs have the capacity for a fundamental form of empathy. How did the researchers come to this conclusion? Because they found taht dogs can "catch" a human's yawn. According to the article: "The phenomenon, called contagious yawning, has been found only in humans and other primates such as chimpanzees and is thought to relate to our ability to empathize with others."

Anyone who has spent time with a dog knows they have empathy. I, for one, don't need a contagious yawn to tell me that.


Lesley Rigby said...

When I heard this mentioned on the TV a few weeks ago I rang Graham and asked him to test a yawn on Tilly. My request was met with short shrift! Obviously Graham didn't feel the need either.....

HandH said...

Dogs always know when you're down, of course they can do empathy! Dog yawning is supposed to be a sign of submission, and if you yawn then stare at them (dog sign of aggression) they'd probably yawn back to assure you they meant no harm. You have to wonder about some of this research... do any of these people actually have dogs themselves?