Emotional contagion and its implications for animal welfare

Altering one's emotional state in response to the emotional expressions of others, called emotional contagion, is a well-studied phenomenon in humans and many nonhuman animals. Here we describe the methods that are typically used to assess changes in the emotional state in demonstrators and the transmission of emotions to naïve observers. We then review the evidence for the transmission of positive and negative emotions in farm animals. We conclude by highlighting examples of how a better understanding of emotional contagion in farm animals can lead to novel and innovative interventions to improve their welfare.

Duepjan, S., Krause, A., Moscovice, L. S., Nawroth, C. (2020) Emotional contagion and its implications for animal welfare. CAB Reviews 15: 1–6. doi: 10.1079/PAVSNNR202015046

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