We examined the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) activity of horses in response to human body odors (BOs) produced under happy and fear states. The ANS response of horses was analyzed in terms of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) features extracted in the frequency domain. Our results revealed that human BOs induce sympathetic and parasympathetic changes and stimulate horses emotionally, suggesting interspecies transfer of emotions via BOs. These preliminary findings open the way to measure changes in horse's ANS dynamics in response to human internal states via human BOs, and allow us to better understand unexpected animal behavior that could compromise human-horse interaction. Moreover, it becomes possible to design more effective strategies to manage animals across a range of situations in which a strict humananimal interaction is required, such as the well known Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).

A Case for the Interspecies Transfer of Emotions: A Preliminary Investigation on How Humans Odors Modify Reactions of the Autonomic Nervous System in Horses

Lanata, Antonio;Nardelli, Mimma;Valenza, Gaetano;Baragli, Paolo;Scilingo, Enzo Pasquale
2018

Abstract

We examined the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) activity of horses in response to human body odors (BOs) produced under happy and fear states. The ANS response of horses was analyzed in terms of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) features extracted in the frequency domain. Our results revealed that human BOs induce sympathetic and parasympathetic changes and stimulate horses emotionally, suggesting interspecies transfer of emotions via BOs. These preliminary findings open the way to measure changes in horse's ANS dynamics in response to human internal states via human BOs, and allow us to better understand unexpected animal behavior that could compromise human-horse interaction. Moreover, it becomes possible to design more effective strategies to manage animals across a range of situations in which a strict humananimal interaction is required, such as the well known Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/939361
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