Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Kujala (2017) reviews a topic of major relevance for the understanding of the special dog-human relationship: canine emotions (as seen through human social cognition). This commentary draws attention to the communication of emotions within such a particular social context. It highlights challenges that need to be tackled to further advance research on emotional communication, and it calls for new avenues of research. Efforts to disentangle emotional processes from cognitive functioning might be necessary to better comprehend how they contribute, alone and/or in combination, to the communication of emotions. Also, new research methods need to be developed to account for the rich sensory repertoire of dogs, likely involved in emotional communication.

Author Biography

Juliane Bräuer is a researcher at the University of Jena and the Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Human History. Her research area is Comparative Psychology and she is especially interested in investigating the cognitive skills that different species – particularly dogs – have evolved to survive in their ecological niche. Her research topics include communication, cooperation, perception and individual differences.


Karine Silva holds a Ph.D. in Biology and is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher in the field of Anthrozoology at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar of the University of Porto. She is especially interested in determining whether positive, emotional, interactions with dogs may promote health improvements, notably for social dysfunctions.


Stefan R. Schweinberger is Professor of General Psychology at the University of Jena. His research is on the cognitive neuroscience of person perception, recognition by face and voice, human interaction processes, and the brain mechanisms, individual differences and disorders associated with these abilities.