Animals exist in the world around us and most of us wouldn’t know what to do if they weren’t in our lives. After all, we bring them into our homes and make them a part of our family. There are also many other animals that have the ability to make us smile, including goats. They are wonderful creatures and now there is a study that shows they do more than make us smile, we can make them smile as well.
The study was published by the Royal Society, a group of researchers from Germany, Brazil and the UK. The study proved that goats love it when we show our happy face, but not when we were angry or sad.
The scientists were attempting to determine if domesticated creatures could tell the difference between human facial expressions.
Obviously, it doesn’t really matter if goats are able to know how we feel or not but it is interesting anyway.
It seems that our facial expressions pass along social information to the goat. We often use them to see how people around us are feeling, so it would stand to reason that animals may be able to tell the same thing.
Some of these animals have been around humans for a very long time. Dogs and cats, for example, can tell when humans are exhibiting specific facial expressions. Perhaps that is why we love them so much as companions.
It also is beneficial for them because they know when to get out of our way.
Goats don’t have as many muscles in their faces so they aren’t able to express their emotions with facial expressions in the same way as humans.
The researchers wanted to see if face reading was possible between the species of goats and humans. After all, they are quickly becoming a companion animal.
Two images of an unfamiliar human face were shown to the goats. One was happy and the other was angry.
The goat saw both pictures when they were released into an enclosure. The researchers wanted to see how they reacted.
Don’t worry, none of the goats were harmed during the research. It was done at the Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats in the UK. 35 goats that were used in the study were already around humans frequently.
Interestingly, the goats enjoyed spending more time interacting with a happy picture but only when it was on the right-hand side of the enclosure.
Stick with me here.
They ended up running multiple trials. Each of the goats was put through the experiment for different times. The first time they showed a bias toward the pictures when they were hanging on the right-hand side. Perhaps it has to do with the hemisphere of the brain that they activate when they see pictures.
After the data was averaged after multiple trials, the pictures were switched each time. It was discovered that regardless of the age or gender of the person in the picture, the goats were happiest with happy faces.
What does this mean for us? Actually, more than you might think.
We know that many domesticated animals can tell what we are feeling by looking at our facial expression.
Goats in this experience had become accustomed to humans because they were in the goat sanctuary. Another set of experiments is set to be done on goats that have not interacted with humans quite so much.
We don’t know how it will turn out but it is safe to say it is a good idea to smile the next time you see a goat.