A recent Learning & Behavior study indicates that canines may have an innate ability to sense our mental states.
This idea of “canine telepathy” has been suggested before–often, pet owners comment on how their dog seems to know what they’re thinking. Researcher Monique Udell and others from the University of Florida questioned this idea of animal telepathy by studying canine attentiveness to humans in both domestic dogs and wolves, and found that the animals may be born with the ability to perceive and react to human emotion.
Researchers experimented by letting the canines choose whether to beg for food from either an attentive person or someone who ignored them. They found that the wolves were “sensitive to human attentional state under some conditions.” That evidence suggests, for the first time, that dogs are born with the capacity to read minds, so to speak. The findings did indicate, however, that increased exposure to humans (as in the case of domestic dogs) improves a dog’s ability to sense attentiveness.
Better watch what you’re thinking when Fido’s in the room.
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