According to a new study, horses and pigs can interpret the human voice.
“Our results show that animals are influenced by the emotions we charge our voices with when we talk to or around them,” said behavioral biologist Elodie Briefer of the University of Copenhagen, according to a statement in the journal BMC Biology. . Bred pigs and horses as well as Asian wild horses could recognize these differences.
For their study, the researchers played recordings of animal noises and human voices from hidden speakers. To prevent the test animals from reacting to certain words, the human recordings came from a professional speaker reciting a kind of gibberish without meaningful sentences.
The animals reacted more strongly – usually more quickly – to a negative-sounding voice than to a positively charged voice. “In certain situations, they even seem to mirror the emotions they’re experiencing,” Briefer explained. The animals’ reactions suggested that the way people talk to and around them has an impact on their well-being.