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Young children’s interpretation of dog’s emotions and their intentions to approach happy, angry and frightened dogs

Aldridge, Grace and ROSE, Sarah (2018) Young children’s interpretation of dog’s emotions and their intentions to approach happy, angry and frightened dogs. Anthrozoös. ISSN 1753-0377 (In Press)

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Abstract or description

The current study aimed to investigate the extent to which young children’s risk of being bitten by a dog might be explained by a lack of ability to accurately recognize dog’s emotions and a lack of knowledge about how to behave appropriately around dogs showing different emotions. One hundred and seventeen children aged 4 to 7 years were shown fifteen images and fifteen video clips of happy, angry and frightened dogs. After each image or clip a series of questions were asked to assess children’s accuracy and confidence in recognizing the dog’s emotional state and their inclination to approach the dog. Results indicated that children were least accurate when presented with frightened dogs with only just over half of 4- to 5- year olds accurately recognizing frightened dogs. Children were inclined to approach frightened and happy dogs, but not angry dogs, and this was true regardless of whether they had correctly identified the emotion or not. Therefore, the results suggest that although some children struggle to recognize when a dog is frightened, the more concerning issue is children’s lack of understanding of how to behave appropriately around dogs, especially regarding approaching frightened dogs. Therefore, learning how to behave appropriately around dogs should be key in any dog bite prevention programs aimed at young children.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2018 14:46
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2018 14:46
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/4956

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