PerspectiveNeuroscience

Revealing animal emotions

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Science  03 Apr 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6486, pp. 33-34
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb2796

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Summary

In his 1872 book, Charles Darwin established the basis for studying the expression of emotions (1). He described emotions as innate, universal, and endowed with communicative function. Darwin also proposed that facial expressions are the richest source of information about emotions for humans and animals. Numerous studies tried to identify and correlate facial expressions with emotions in nonhuman primates, horses, sheep, and dogs (2, 3). Several of the methods to recognize emotions using facial expression in rodents are limited to a single emotion, require a long process of manual scoring, and are biased by human factors or difficult to reproduce (4, 5). On page 89 of this issue, Dolensek et al. (6) used machine learning to objectively investigate stereotyped facial expressions and their neuronal correlates in mice in response to emotionally salient stimuli.

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