A new study published in the journal Animal Cognition indicates that dogs may have facial recognition skills similar to humans.
Led by Professor Outi Vainio at the University of Helsinki, scientists tested dogs’ spontaneous behavior towards images. The dogs had not been specifically trained to recognize faces; researchers wanted to know if they naturally looked at familiar and strange faces differently.
Dogs were shown pictures of people and dogs that they knew–and didn’t know. When the researchers tracked the animals’ eye movements, they found that dogs gazed longer at photos of familiar humans than those they didn’t know. They also were more likely to look at familiar dogs longer as well.
According to a story in Nature World News, the researchers “determined that the dogs not only recognize the physical properties of the faces, but also the information presented in the image and its semantic meaning.” In other words, they recognized their humans.
Now I know why Jasper keeps borrowing my laptop to look at Facebook.Tweet