Horses remember expressions of human faces

Horses remember the previous emotion of a person and meet him again according to the expression on his face.

Home horses are known as highly social animals, perfectly adapted to life next to humans. They are able to read our emotions by their facial expressions and actively use their facial expressions. In a new work, Professor Sussex University Karen McComb (Karen McComb) and her team managed to demonstrate that horses perfectly remember the facial expression and the next time they meet a person so much the more joyfully, the more positive the separation was.

In an article published in the journal Current Biology, scientists talk about experiments with 11 horses, which showed large photos of a human face with an evil expression, and ten more horses, which showed a “smiling” portrait. After a two-minute demonstration and a few hours of pause, a man with a neutral expression appeared in front of them. At the same time he did not know which of the horses he had seen before.

It turned out that horses remembering an angry face were more likely to turn to a person so that they could see it with their left eye: according to scientists, this could be due to a more active transmission of visual information to the right brain, especially actively involved in reaction to danger. And vice versa: animals who observed positive emotions in the portrait, tried to keep the person in the field of vision of the right eye longer. The authors attribute this to the involvement of the left hemisphere of the brain in prosocial behavior.

Reactions could be observed in the behavior of horses. Those of them who remember the aggressive face, met the person with obvious anxiety. All this, in the opinion of Karen McComb and her co-authors, proves that horses not only recognize facial expressions, but also connect them with a specific person, memorizing his emotions and character.

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