Dogs evaluate threatening facial expressions by their biological validity - Evidence from gazing patterns

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dc.contributor Aalto-yliopisto fi
dc.contributor Aalto University en Somppi, Sanni Törnqvist, Heini Kujala, Miiamaaria V. Hänninen, Laura Krause, Christina M. Vainio, Outi 2017-05-11T09:03:56Z 2017-05-11T09:03:56Z 2016-01-01
dc.identifier.citation Somppi , S , Törnqvist , H , Kujala , M V , Hänninen , L , Krause , C M & Vainio , O 2016 , ' Dogs evaluate threatening facial expressions by their biological validity - Evidence from gazing patterns ' PLOS ONE , vol 11 , no. 1 , e0143047 , pp. e0143047/1-16 . DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143047 en
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.other PURE UUID: aecc66ef-b1eb-4e71-b3b0-2ab5b130e821
dc.identifier.other PURE ITEMURL:
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dc.description.abstract Appropriate response to companions' emotional signals is important for all social creatures. The emotional expressions of humans and non-human animals have analogies in their form and function, suggesting shared evolutionary roots, but very little is known about how animals other than primates view and process facial expressions. In primates, threat-related facial expressions evoke exceptional viewing patterns compared with neutral or positive stimuli. Here, we explore if domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) have such an attentional bias toward threatening social stimuli and whether observed emotional expressions affect dogs' gaze fixation distribution among the facial features (eyes, midface and mouth). We recorded the voluntary eye gaze of 31 domestic dogs during viewing of facial photographs of humans and dogs with three emotional expressions (threatening, pleasant and neutral). We found that dogs' gaze fixations spread systematically among facial features. The distribution of fixations was altered by the seenexpression, but eyes were the most probable targets of the first fixations and gathered longer looking durations than mouth regardless of the viewed expression. The examination of the inner facial features as a whole revealed more pronounced scanning differences among expressions. This suggests that dogs do not base their perception of facial expressions on the viewing of single structures, but the interpretation of the composition formed by eyes, midface and mouth. Dogs evaluated social threat rapidly and this evaluation led to attentional bias, which was dependent on the depicted species: threatening conspecifics' faces evoked heightened attention but threatening human faces instead an avoidance response. We propose that threatening signals carrying differential biological validity are processed via distinctive neurocognitive pathways. Both of these mechanisms may have an adaptive significance for domestic dogs. The findings provide a novel perspective on understanding the processing of emotional expressions and sensitivity to social threat in non-primates. en
dc.format.extent 16
dc.format.extent e0143047/1-16
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en en
dc.relation.ispartofseries PLOS ONE en
dc.relation.ispartofseries Volume 11, issue 1 en
dc.rights openAccess en
dc.subject.other Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all) en
dc.subject.other Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all) en
dc.subject.other Medicine(all) en
dc.subject.other 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology en
dc.title Dogs evaluate threatening facial expressions by their biological validity - Evidence from gazing patterns en
dc.type A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä fi
dc.description.version Peer reviewed en
dc.contributor.department University of Helsinki
dc.contributor.department Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering
dc.subject.keyword brain research
dc.subject.keyword emotional expressions
dc.subject.keyword humans
dc.subject.keyword dogs
dc.subject.keyword chimpanzees
dc.subject.keyword Face recognition
dc.subject.keyword Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
dc.subject.keyword Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
dc.subject.keyword Medicine(all)
dc.subject.keyword 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
dc.identifier.urn URN:NBN:fi:aalto-201705114167
dc.identifier.doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0143047
dc.type.version publishedVersion

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