A Finnish study shows that young children are less likely to pick up on dog aggression cues compared to older kids or adults.
The study involved 34 adults, 28 four-year-olds, and 31 six-year-olds. Each participant viewed images of dog and human faces on a screen, and rated their expressions.
Four-year-olds were not able to recognize an angry or upset dog, nor was a child two years older.
Study authors wrote: “Aggressive dog expressions were especially rated incorrectly by 4-year-olds, and they rated aggressive dogs as significantly more positive and lower in arousal than adults.”
Recognizing emotions – from facial expressions – is a key part of nonverbal communication between different species, study authors from the University of Jyväskylä explain.
The team says more research should be conducted to build on these findings, which may one day help inform efforts to help improve relationships between children and dogs.
(Sniff out more, here: Study Finds)