SocraticGadfly: Your dog does NOT look guilty

June 19, 2009

Your dog does NOT look guilty

Instead, any “guilty” look you think that pet has is all in your head.

In fact, new research shows two reasons for that.

One is mankind’s evolved tendency to anthropomorphize surrounding parts of the world.

The second is situation-specific.

It’s called “projection,” in the psychological sense. Owners who just scolded or admonished their dogs were more likely to think they looked “guilty.”

So, while dogs do have some amount of intelligence, pet owners, stop claiming they have complex emotional states. As I have blogged before, they don’t.

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