22 July 2009

Babies and Dogs Get Each Other, Study Says

You may not understand what your dog is trying to tell you, but your baby might. Infants as young as six months old can tell what kind of mood a pooch is in by its bark, according to a new study.

Brigham Young University researchers showed babies two different pictures of the same dog, looking aggressive and then friendly. They then played sound recordings of a happy and an angry bark in a random order.

Amazingly, the babies spent most of the time staring at the matching picture after hearing the sound.

“Emotion is one of the first things babies pick up on in their social world,” said Ross Flom, a professor at the university and lead author of the study. “We chose dogs because they are highly communicative creatures both in their posture and the nature of their bark.”

The experiment backs up the idea that even before they can speak, babies can understand and respond to the tone of human and animal voices.

Thankfully, it seems no babies got too alarmed by the aggressive barks. “Many of them enjoyed it,” Dan Hyde, one of the study’s co-authors said of the experiment. “Others just looked on.”

[Source: NYDailyNews]