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Human perception of fear in dogs varies according to experience with dogs.

Wan M, Bolger N, Champagne FA - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: The probability of selecting the "fearful" category to describe fearful examples increased with experience and ranged from.30 among those who had never lived with a dog to greater than.70 among dog professionals.Lastly, more-experienced respondents provided lower difficulty and higher accuracy self-ratings than less-experienced respondents when interpreting both happy and fearful emotional examples.The human perception of emotion in other humans has previously been shown to be sensitive to individual differences in social experience, and the results of the current study extend the notion of experience-dependent processes from the intraspecific to the interspecific domain.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA. msw2111@columbia.edu

ABSTRACT
To investigate the role of experience in humans' perception of emotion using canine visual signals, we asked adults with various levels of dog experience to interpret the emotions of dogs displayed in videos. The video stimuli had been pre-categorized by an expert panel of dog behavior professionals as showing examples of happy or fearful dog behavior. In a sample of 2,163 participants, the level of dog experience strongly predicted identification of fearful, but not of happy, emotional examples. The probability of selecting the "fearful" category to describe fearful examples increased with experience and ranged from.30 among those who had never lived with a dog to greater than.70 among dog professionals. In contrast, the probability of selecting the "happy" category to describe happy emotional examples varied little by experience, ranging from.90 to.93. In addition, the number of physical features of the dog that participants reported using for emotional interpretations increased with experience, and in particular, more-experienced respondents were more likely to attend to the ears. Lastly, more-experienced respondents provided lower difficulty and higher accuracy self-ratings than less-experienced respondents when interpreting both happy and fearful emotional examples. The human perception of emotion in other humans has previously been shown to be sensitive to individual differences in social experience, and the results of the current study extend the notion of experience-dependent processes from the intraspecific to the interspecific domain.

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Self-reported difficulty and accuracy ratings according to experience with dogs.A) Difficulty ratings and B) accuracy ratings for interpretations of happy and fearful examples by experience group. Difficulty ratings: 1 = very easy, 9 = very difficult. Accuracy ratings: 1 = very inaccurate; 9 = very accurate. Error bars represent standard errors of the means. Model-fitted values account for effects of participant’s sex, participant’s age, and individual videos. Sig. pairwise comparisons (Sidak-corrected): Difficulty - Happy: All Others<Low-Exp; Fearful: Prof10+ = Prof<10< Own<Low-Exp. Accuracy - Happy: Low-Exp< Own = Prof10+; Fearful: Low-Exp< Own <Prof<10 = Prof10+.
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pone-0051775-g004: Self-reported difficulty and accuracy ratings according to experience with dogs.A) Difficulty ratings and B) accuracy ratings for interpretations of happy and fearful examples by experience group. Difficulty ratings: 1 = very easy, 9 = very difficult. Accuracy ratings: 1 = very inaccurate; 9 = very accurate. Error bars represent standard errors of the means. Model-fitted values account for effects of participant’s sex, participant’s age, and individual videos. Sig. pairwise comparisons (Sidak-corrected): Difficulty - Happy: All Others<Low-Exp; Fearful: Prof10+ = Prof<10< Own<Low-Exp. Accuracy - Happy: Low-Exp< Own = Prof10+; Fearful: Low-Exp< Own <Prof<10 = Prof10+.

Mentions: Respondents from all experience groups rated happy emotional examples as easier to interpret than fearful examples and perceived their interpretations to be more accurate for happy than fearful examples (Figure 4). However, less-experienced respondents, particularly the Low-Experience group, reported greater difficulty and lower accuracy than more-experienced respondents when interpreting both happy and fearful examples [difficulty: happy, F(3, 4918) = 7.00, P<.001, fearful, F(3, 4319) = 36.03, P<.001; accuracy: happy, F(3, 5388) = 3.82, P = .01, fearful, F(3, 4319) = 33.59, P<.001]. Furthermore, differences by experience in difficulty and accuracy ratings were greater for interpretations of fearful than happy examples. For instance, mean difficulty ratings for happy examples differed between the Low-Exp and Prof10+ groups by 0.41 points on a nine-point scale, whereas the difference was more than twice as large (1.16 points) for fearful examples. Lastly, respondents who selected the “happy” category for happy examples or the “fearful” category for fearful examples reported lower difficulty and greater accuracy than those who selected non-matching emotion categories [difficulty: happy, t(4906) = −24.73, P<.001, fearful, t(4139) = −10.01, P<.001; accuracy: happy, t(4503) = 12.60, P<.001, fearful, t(3838) = 7.48, P<.001].


Human perception of fear in dogs varies according to experience with dogs.

Wan M, Bolger N, Champagne FA - PLoS ONE (2012)

Self-reported difficulty and accuracy ratings according to experience with dogs.A) Difficulty ratings and B) accuracy ratings for interpretations of happy and fearful examples by experience group. Difficulty ratings: 1 = very easy, 9 = very difficult. Accuracy ratings: 1 = very inaccurate; 9 = very accurate. Error bars represent standard errors of the means. Model-fitted values account for effects of participant’s sex, participant’s age, and individual videos. Sig. pairwise comparisons (Sidak-corrected): Difficulty - Happy: All Others<Low-Exp; Fearful: Prof10+ = Prof<10< Own<Low-Exp. Accuracy - Happy: Low-Exp< Own = Prof10+; Fearful: Low-Exp< Own <Prof<10 = Prof10+.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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pone-0051775-g004: Self-reported difficulty and accuracy ratings according to experience with dogs.A) Difficulty ratings and B) accuracy ratings for interpretations of happy and fearful examples by experience group. Difficulty ratings: 1 = very easy, 9 = very difficult. Accuracy ratings: 1 = very inaccurate; 9 = very accurate. Error bars represent standard errors of the means. Model-fitted values account for effects of participant’s sex, participant’s age, and individual videos. Sig. pairwise comparisons (Sidak-corrected): Difficulty - Happy: All Others<Low-Exp; Fearful: Prof10+ = Prof<10< Own<Low-Exp. Accuracy - Happy: Low-Exp< Own = Prof10+; Fearful: Low-Exp< Own <Prof<10 = Prof10+.
Mentions: Respondents from all experience groups rated happy emotional examples as easier to interpret than fearful examples and perceived their interpretations to be more accurate for happy than fearful examples (Figure 4). However, less-experienced respondents, particularly the Low-Experience group, reported greater difficulty and lower accuracy than more-experienced respondents when interpreting both happy and fearful examples [difficulty: happy, F(3, 4918) = 7.00, P<.001, fearful, F(3, 4319) = 36.03, P<.001; accuracy: happy, F(3, 5388) = 3.82, P = .01, fearful, F(3, 4319) = 33.59, P<.001]. Furthermore, differences by experience in difficulty and accuracy ratings were greater for interpretations of fearful than happy examples. For instance, mean difficulty ratings for happy examples differed between the Low-Exp and Prof10+ groups by 0.41 points on a nine-point scale, whereas the difference was more than twice as large (1.16 points) for fearful examples. Lastly, respondents who selected the “happy” category for happy examples or the “fearful” category for fearful examples reported lower difficulty and greater accuracy than those who selected non-matching emotion categories [difficulty: happy, t(4906) = −24.73, P<.001, fearful, t(4139) = −10.01, P<.001; accuracy: happy, t(4503) = 12.60, P<.001, fearful, t(3838) = 7.48, P<.001].

Bottom Line: The probability of selecting the "fearful" category to describe fearful examples increased with experience and ranged from.30 among those who had never lived with a dog to greater than.70 among dog professionals.Lastly, more-experienced respondents provided lower difficulty and higher accuracy self-ratings than less-experienced respondents when interpreting both happy and fearful emotional examples.The human perception of emotion in other humans has previously been shown to be sensitive to individual differences in social experience, and the results of the current study extend the notion of experience-dependent processes from the intraspecific to the interspecific domain.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA. msw2111@columbia.edu

ABSTRACT
To investigate the role of experience in humans' perception of emotion using canine visual signals, we asked adults with various levels of dog experience to interpret the emotions of dogs displayed in videos. The video stimuli had been pre-categorized by an expert panel of dog behavior professionals as showing examples of happy or fearful dog behavior. In a sample of 2,163 participants, the level of dog experience strongly predicted identification of fearful, but not of happy, emotional examples. The probability of selecting the "fearful" category to describe fearful examples increased with experience and ranged from.30 among those who had never lived with a dog to greater than.70 among dog professionals. In contrast, the probability of selecting the "happy" category to describe happy emotional examples varied little by experience, ranging from.90 to.93. In addition, the number of physical features of the dog that participants reported using for emotional interpretations increased with experience, and in particular, more-experienced respondents were more likely to attend to the ears. Lastly, more-experienced respondents provided lower difficulty and higher accuracy self-ratings than less-experienced respondents when interpreting both happy and fearful emotional examples. The human perception of emotion in other humans has previously been shown to be sensitive to individual differences in social experience, and the results of the current study extend the notion of experience-dependent processes from the intraspecific to the interspecific domain.

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