Human Empathy, Personality and Experience Affect the Emotion Ratings of Dog and Human Facial Expressions

Show full item record



Kujala , M V , Somppi , S , Jokela , M , Vainio , O & Parkkonen , L 2017 , ' Human Empathy, Personality and Experience Affect the Emotion Ratings of Dog and Human Facial Expressions ' , PLoS One , vol. 12 , no. 1 , 0170730 .

Title: Human Empathy, Personality and Experience Affect the Emotion Ratings of Dog and Human Facial Expressions
Author: Kujala, Miiamaaria V.; Somppi, Sanni; Jokela, Markus; Vainio, Outi; Parkkonen, Lauri
Contributor organization: Departments of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Equine and Small Animal Medicine
University of Helsinki
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Behavioural Sciences
Outi Vainio / Principal Investigator
Research Centre for Animal Welfare
Date: 2017-01-23
Language: eng
Number of pages: 18
Belongs to series: PLoS One
ISSN: 1932-6203
Abstract: Facial expressions are important for humans in communicating emotions to the conspecifics and enhancing interpersonal understanding. Many muscles producing facial expressions in humans are also found in domestic dogs, but little is known about how humans perceive dog facial expressions, and which psychological factors influence people's perceptions. Here, we asked 34 observers to rate the valence, arousal, and the six basic emotions (happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust, fear, and anger/aggressiveness) from images of human and dog faces with Pleasant, Neutral and Threatening expressions. We investigated how the subjects' personality (the Big Five Inventory), empathy (Interpersonal Reactivity Index) and experience of dog behavior affect the ratings of dog and human faces. Ratings of both species followed similar general patterns: human subjects classified dog facial expressions from pleasant to threatening very similarly to human facial expressions. Subjects with higher emotional empathy evaluated Threatening faces of both species as more negative in valence and higher in anger/aggressiveness. More empathetic subjects also rated the happiness of Pleasant humans but not dogs higher, and they were quicker in their valence judgments of Pleasant human, Threatening human and Threatening dog faces. Experience with dogs correlated positively with ratings of Pleasant and Neutral dog faces. Personality also had a minor effect on the ratings of Pleasant and Neutral faces in both species. The results imply that humans perceive human and dog facial expression in a similar manner, and the perception of both species is influenced by psychological factors of the evaluators. Especially empathy affects both the speed and intensity of rating dogs' emotional facial expressions.
413 Veterinary science
515 Psychology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

Files in this item

Total number of downloads: Loading...

Files Size Format View
journal.pone.0170730.pdf 1.267Mb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record