New research has shed light on the inability of human beings to recognize a condition of aggression in others, especially in dogs. Men are receptive animals, capable of diagnosing the mood of others by deciphering “simple” micro-expressions on the faces of those around them.
Unconsciously, we process our interactions with others based on these analyses. For example, if the person in front of us is agitated and aggressive, it would make sense adopt a specific behavior against them, in order to preserve our safety.
The research we mentioned at the beginning is based on the interpretations of 92 adults about the non-verbal interactions between two children, two dogs and two barbary monkeys (a species of macaque). Participants lingered on posture and facial expressions to understand the mood of the “actors”, based on three parameters: playful, neutral or aggressive.
The examinees have shown that they are able to recognize the neutral and playful intentions of others, noticing the latter about 70% of the time; however, the participants had some problems in identifying the condition of aggression, especially in human and canine interactions. According to experts, man’s inability to decipher a dog’s agitated state is due to the general idea we have of him (affectionate, faithful and playful).
“It is important to be able to make predictions about the future actions of others in order to react optimally”, concluded the authors in a statement. “Humans are quite good at classifying and predicting social situations with other humans, dogs and apes, but it depends on the context. Surprisingly, humans underestimate aggression in dogs”.
Do you know, however, which animal is very good at recognizing friendly faces?