Smiles are good for everyone. Many things make us happy, like smiling. When we see a smiling face, our brain sends reward signals that make us happy.
Humans are the only animal that smiles to show that they are happy, except for some monkeys and apes. If you put a smiling face on a goat, it might mean that the goat is happy. That’s what researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, found.
It turns out that goats can read human expressions and tell the difference between a happy and sad face. This is what the scientists found out. They went to a goat sanctuary and showed the goats two pictures at a time. In one picture, there was a happy face. In the other picture, there was an angry face.
The pictures were hung on a wall about three meters apart in a small field. The goats were then let into the arena, where they could play with the pictures. A smiling face was the goats’ favorite. The goats were more likely to approach the smiling photo first, spend more time with it, and interact more often with the smiling photo. This shows that goats can read human emotions and prefer to interact with happy people. The goats only liked the smiling face if the picture was on the right-hand side, which is interesting. They didn’t care about either picture when the goats were on the left.
The researchers think this is because goats’ brains are thought to work this way. Goats are thought to process positive emotions in their left hemisphere and negative emotions in their right hemisphere. Regardless, the study showed that goats can distinguish between human expressions. As it turns out, goats are more intelligent than we thought and can tell us how we feel. A good thing: goats are so cute that they tend to make people happy. Read the full study here to learn more.