Dogs are not the only animals that can hear the emotion in our voices. According to new research, pigs and horses can also tell the difference between positive and negative expressions in human speech, and it might alter how they respond to us.
Domesticated horses can see emotions on human faces and hear emotions in human emotions, like growling or laughter, according to previous studies.
This is the first attempt to explain how domesticated animals differ from non-verbal human sounds and sounds from their own species.
Domesticated pigs and captive wild boars, as well as domesticated horses and captive wild horses from Asia, were examined.
Various sounds were played for all of the animals, some from their own species, some of which were from a closely related species, and others of which were made by humans.
Each sound recording lasted a few seconds and expressed a certain emotional discernment, whether positive or negative.
Regardless of what animal they produced, the authors found all horses and domesticated pigs reacted more strongly to negative noises.
The horses spent more time walking and less time flicking their tails, suggesting they were being more attentive. Despite their positions, the pigs stood around more and ate less.
Wild boars were the exception. This group of animals did not respond differently to their own vocalizations or by humans.
The findings suggestive of a notion known as ''emotional contagion'', a form of empathy that is likely quite common across the animal kingdom, allowing individuals and animals to sense the emotions of others and possibly mirror them.
This sort of behavior is beneficial within a group-oriented species. However, experts caution that it may be observed among animals. Lastly, it is worthwhile to keep an eye on their feelings, regardless of whether they''re related to you or not.
Domesticated animals are grouped in a good line. Given how much they depend on us for food and shelter, it makes sense that our pets and livestock would be in tune with our wishes.
Rodents, sheep, goats, dogs, horses, and captive wild animals, such as giant pandas, and chimpanzees, have all shown the ability to read the expression of emotions on humans.
Horses are able to distinguish between positive and negative human vocalizations, according to brain scans.
"Our results show that these animals are affected by the emotions we charge our voices with when we talk to or are around them," says bioist Elodie Briefer of the University of Copenhagen.
"They react more often when confronted with a negatively charged voice, comparative to having a positively charged voice to them first. In certain situations, they even seem to refinarate their impressions."
Interestingly, the authors discovered that when a negatively charged sound was first performed, domesticated pigs and all horses were immediately put on guard.
Despite being played with a positively charged sound, the animals were brought to an end.
The findings suggest that the way we communicate with our pets and our livestock might have a greater impact on how the animals behave and what they feel than we realize. And it is worthwhile to keep that in mind at all times.
"When approached by individuals, animals should respond less," writes Briefer.
"They may become more calm and more relaxed," he says.
The study was published in BMC Biology.