(GOATS/ABOUT ANIMALS) Did you know goats prefer happy people? When researchers in the UK borrowed goats from a local sanctuary to better understand how the animals interpret human cues, they learned that goats–similarly to dogs–prefer a smile to a frown.
The profound study could affect how we interact with livestock and other species as it demonstrates how animals’ ability to perceive human emotions could be widespread and not just limited to pets.
Read on to learn more about the details of the study, and don’t forget to smile! — Global Animal
New York Post, Lauren Tousignant
Don’t get bleat — we mean bleak — around a goat.
Goats, just like dogs, prefer smiling friends over scowling jerks, according to a new study.
Researchers in the UK borrowed goats from a local sanctuary to better understand how well they can understand human cues.
Twenty goats — 12 male and 8 female — were shown images of people with happy and angry expressions before being placed on separate sides of a large pen. The herd was then released into the pen and scientists timed how long they interacted with each photograph.
The goats spent 50 percent more time hovering around the photographs of smiling people — specifically interacting with the happy photos “first, more often and for a longer duration,” researchers said. The results were published in Royal Society Open Science.
“Overall, we found that goats preferred to interact first with happy faces, meaning that they are sensitive to human facial emotional cues,” the study’s authors wrote.
Additionally, researchers found the goats preferred the happy images to be placed on the right side of the pen, but believe that may have to do with a brain hemisphere bias.
“The study has important implications for how we interact with livestock and other species because the abilities of animals to perceive human emotions might be widespread and not just limited to pets,” Dr. Alan McElligott, lead author of the study, said in a statement.
An equally heartwarming study from 2016, published in Biology Letters, all but declared goats to be the new dog – with researchers finding that goats also look to develop social relationships with humans.