Sunday, 28 July 2019

Goats can distinguish emotions from the calls of other goats


JULY 9, 2019

Goats can probably distinguish subtle emotional changes in the calls of other goats, according to a new study led by Queen Mary University of London.
The researchers measured behavioural and physiological changes in goats to determine if they can differentiate between calls linked to positive and negative emotions.
They found that when the emotion of a call changed, the likeliness of the goats to look towards the source of the sound also changed suggesting that they can distinguish the emotional content of calls of another goat.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, also shows that the goats' heart-rate variability—the variation in time between each heartbeat—was greater when positive calls were played compared to when negative calls were played.
Together, these results provide the first strong evidence that goats are not only able to distinguish call variants based on the emotion that they convey, but also that their own emotions are potentially affected.
The study was carried out in collaboration with the University of Roehampton, ETH Zurich and University of Turin.
Luigi Baciadonna, lead author of the study from Queen Mary University of London, said: "Despite its evolutionary importance, social communication of emotions in non-human animals is still not well understood. Our results suggest that non-human animals are not only attentive, but might also be sensitive to the emotional states of other individuals."

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