(ETX Daily Up) – In the collective imagination, goats are playful and whimsical. But the study shows that these herbivores are much more observant than we think. They would be able to discern human emotions by listening to the intonations of our voices.
The researchers behind the research made the discovery after observing the behavior of 27 goats living in a sanctuary in the United Kingdom. They played recordings of human voices expressing a range of different emotions.
This experiment showed that goats pay more attention to sound clips when different intonations are heard. “We predicted that if goats could distinguish the emotional content conveyed by a human voice, they would change their posture and look faster and longer at the source of the sound after the first change in valence (an indicator of how the stimulus is felt). emotionally, note ed.),” said Dr. Marianne Mason, co-author of the study, in a press release.
Dr. Marianne Mason and her colleagues noticed that most ruminants who looked at a speaker focused particularly on that object when it played a voice recording in which different intonations were heard. The academics therefore concluded that these goats perceived emotional nuances in the human voice. It is important to emphasize that not all goats responded to voice intonation in the same way. Many of them seem oblivious to changes in valence, which can be caused by many factors. Regardless, scientists are convinced that these herbivores are much more sensitive to vocal tones than long thought. “Here we provide the first evidence that goats can discriminate cues conveyed by human voices, especially emotional valence. These observations add to the limited literature reporting the sensitivity of both farm animals and pets to human emotional signals,” they write in their study. published in the journal Animal Behavior.
This study improves our understanding of the cognitive abilities of goats. These animals, like dogs, would be particularly attentive to our body language. A study published in 2018 in Royal Society Open Science confirms that these herbivores clearly prefer happy faces. Proof that they are far from stupid.