Horses Can Read Human Emotions

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In a 2016 study of 28 horses, researchers found that horses could differentiate between angry (negative) and happy (positive) emotions in humans. When presented with a high-quality photograph of an angry person, a horse's heart rate would go up, and it would tend to look at the photo out of its left eye. This "left-gaze" bias has also been observed in dogs. Scientists believe that this response happens because the right hemisphere of the brain is thought to process threatening stimuli. (Input from the left eye is analyzed in that hemisphere.)

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Equine therapy has proven helpful to several veterans who suffer from the mental aftereffects of war. 00:12

  2. Equine therapy doesn't always entail horseback riding—it's a mode of therapy that involves any kind of work with horses. 01:26

  3. Horses have exhibited an ability to read human emotion, both in facial expressions and in body language. 03:19

Written by Curiosity Staff February 12, 2016