Emotions can be defined as a conscious mental reaction which comes in the form of strong feelings usually felt towards or because of a particular object. This can cause a variety of changes in the body. To study emotions better, scientists divide these reactions into three categories – physiological, psychological and behavioural.
What kinds of emotions can animals feel?
Charles Darwin was the first scientist to suggest that animals had emotions, much like humans, However, his theories were disregarded until recently. Scientists are now suggesting after extensive research, that animals do feel a certain range of emotions.
These emotions – such as fear and love influence an animal’s behaviour and lead them to make decisions. New research shows that animals can have physiological reacts to emotions (Example: an increase in heart rate) and behavioural reactions to emotions (Example: their hair stands up). Conclusive proof is yet to be discovered that animals can think deeply into their emotions and have psychological reactions.
Can animals understand human emotions?
Research has shown that social animals like dogs can read human expressions and react when they see facial expressions depicting extreme emotions such as love, fear and anger. Hence, dogs are a highly common support animal.