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Open AccessArticle

Can Children of Different Ages Recognize Dog Communication Signals in Different Situations?

1
Department of Ethology and Companion Animal Science, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, 165 00 Prague, Czech Republic
2
Department of Biology, J. E. Purkyne University in Usti nad Labem, Za Válcovnou 1000/8, 400 96 Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020506
Received: 18 November 2019 / Revised: 9 January 2020 / Accepted: 10 January 2020 / Published: 13 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Children's Health)
The presented study examines the ability of 265 children aged 4–12 years to correctly assign contextual cues and inner state values to a set of audio and audio-visual recordings of dog vocalizations and behaviors in different situations. Participants were asked to mark which situation each recording captured, what inner state of the dog it showed, and what inner state a human would feel in the same situation. Recognition of the inner state of dogs was affected by the age of the child when evaluating the audio recordings (p < 0.001), and such a tendency was revealed in evaluating the audiovisual materials (p = 0.08). The inner state of dog evaluation was associated with both the situation assessment (p < 0.01) and human inner state (p < 0.001) in the case of audio recordings, but it was only correlated with situation assessment in audio-visual recordings (p < 0.01). The contextual situations were recognized by the participants only in the audio materials, with “stranger” being the best recognized situation, while “play” was the least recognized. Overall, children aged 4–5 years showed a limited ability to understand dog signals compared to children aged 6–12 years, who were successful in recognizing the dogs’ stimuli more than 80% of the time. Therefore, children younger than 6 years of age require increased supervision when interacting with dogs. View Full-Text
Keywords: dog; children; emotion recognition; contextual cues; inner state assessment; audio communication; audio-visual communication dog; children; emotion recognition; contextual cues; inner state assessment; audio communication; audio-visual communication
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Eretová, P.; Chaloupková, H.; Hefferová, M.; Jozífková, E. Can Children of Different Ages Recognize Dog Communication Signals in Different Situations? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 506.

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