What is it about?

The Still Face Effect was first discussed when researchers noticed babies are very uncomfortable when a person who was interacting normally suddenly stops reacting and stares at them with a totally blank face. They hypothesized that even really young babies have expectations about what kind of interactions are normal, and get uncomfortable when someone starts acting weird. Because dogs live with humans and are unusually sensitive to social behavior of humans, we wanted to see if dogs also show those same expectations about what situations are normal and whether a blank face makes them as uncomfortable as babies.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Humans have influenced dog behavior for thousands of years through domestication. We have consciously and unconsciously put pressure on dogs to fit in better with our social world. When we see where dogs and humans differ and where they are the same it shows us which behaviors are most important for interacting with humans. Dogs are a window into the evolutionary process that makes humans so unique.


This study highlights what is the same about dogs and humans (expectations about social interactions) and what is different (what those expectations are).

Molly Byrne
Boston College

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Still face in pet dogs (Canis familiaris)., Journal of Comparative Psychology, February 2024, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/com0000371.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page