Sunday, June 4, 2017

Quote of the Day

Neither the humans nor the dogs showed much response in cortisol levels to the sound of a baby babbling. The radio static also did not alter cortisol levels, though the humans described it as “unpleasant” and the dogs’ body language, which included lowered heads, flattened ears and lowered tails, suggested that it might have caused some distress.

But the sound of a baby crying produced a drastic response. Cortisol levels spiked in both people and dogs. The dogs responded with submissive behaviors like tucking their tails, a reaction that Ted Ruffman, a study author and professor of psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, described as low-level empathy.

“Emotional contagion is a primitive form of empathy,” Dr. Ruffman said. “It is plausible that when breeding dogs, humans would have selected for qualities that facilitated emotional links between dogs and humans.”

The Empathetic Dog

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