Researchers have determined that dogs involuntarily mimic others’ expressions–a basic building block of empathy. Dogs may exhibit signs of empathy, according to a group of Italian researchers. Publishing in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the researchers claim that canines are capable of both rapid mimicry and emotional contagion.
According to the study, “Emotional contagion is a basic form of empathy that makes individuals able to experience others’ emotions. In human and non-human primates, emotional contagion can be linked to facial mimicry, an automatic and fast response…in which individuals involuntary mimic others’ expressions.” Lead author, Elisabetta Palagi,