New research has revealed that horses are not only able to recognise human emotions, but they remember them too
We’ve known for a while that horses are intelligent and highly social creatures, but the extent of their capabilities is still being discovered.
In this study, researchers briefly presented domestic horses with photographs showing a person with either a happy or an angry face.
Later than day, each horse was introduced to the person it had seen in the photo, this time with a neutral facial expression. There was a clear difference in the horses’ reactions when they met someone they’d seen looking angry, and their gaze indicated they perceived these people more negatively than those they’d seen smiling.
It’s the first time a mammal has demonstrated the ability to recall emotions and make judgements based on this knowledge. This probably allows horses to identify humans that might harm them or be a threat to them.
You can read the full report here.
Photo: Geoffrey Gallaway/flickr