What is it about?

Faces play an important role in communication and identity recognition in social animals. This study demonstrates for the first time how facial inversion and familiarity, two phenomena widely studied in primate face perception research, affect the scanning behavior of domestic dogs. Results revealed similarities with the gazing behavior of primates. In summary, dogs preferred conspecific faces showed a great interest in the eye area of upright faces and fixated more at personally familiar faces than at strange ones.

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Why is it important?

Dogs are likely to recognize conspecific and human faces in photographs. The results imply that face scanning in dogs is guided not only by the physical properties of images, but also by semantic factors.

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This page is a summary of: How dogs scan familiar and inverted faces: an eye movement study, Animal Cognition, December 2013, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s10071-013-0713-0.
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