By Michael Thomsen For Dailymail.com
Published: 22:41 GMT, 2 December 2019 | Updated: 22:41 GMT, 2 December 2019
Dogs have lived alongside humans for at least 40,000 years, but proximity doesn’t automatically lead to understanding.
According to a new study from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the key to understanding dogs largely depends on where you're from.
The researchers, led by Federica Amici, a behavioral ecologist, tested 89 adults and 77 children from distinct cultural backgrounds to test their ability to read the facial expression of dogs.
New research from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology shows that adults from dog-friendly cultures are able to identify facial expressions in dogs with a greater degree of accuracy than those from cultures less friendly to dogs
Specifically, subjects were taken from Europe, where dogs are considered close family companions that live indoors alongside humans, and Muslim-majority countries where dogs more commonly live outside and aren’t necessarily thought of as surrogate family members.
Researchers showed the test subjects photographs of dogs, chimpanzees, and humans and asked them to distinguish expressions of anger, happiness, sadness, fear, and neutral expressions.
The researchers found that while all subjects were generally able to distinguish happiness and anger in dogs, people from more dog-friendly Europe were able to identify sadness, fear and neutrality in dog facial expressions with higher accuracy than people from Muslim-majority countries.
Significantly, children performed roughly the same regardless of cultural background, and outside of happiness and anger, they were unable to accurately identify dog emotions based solely on facial expressions.
While all test subjects were able to identify anger and