When dog and owner look alike
Are dogs and their humans so entwined that they tend to take after one another in appearance?
The question — one drawing increasing scrutiny from scientists — was asked, but not really answered, in a piece in the the Health section of yesterday’s New York Times.
In 2004, researchers in San Diego found that people were able to correctly match pictures of dog owners with their pets more often than not, but only when the dogs were purebreds. Similarities in facial expressions played a big role in the choices.
The same year, a psychologist at the University of South Carolina challenged the findings in a separate study, but the San Diego researchers countered with a reanalysis that confirmed their initial findings.
Earlier this year, a scientist in England conducted a study in which 70 subjects were asked to match pictures of 41 dog owners to one of several breeds. They were able to match successfully more than half the time.
As with the San Diego study, the subjects later said they matched mostly by looking for personality traits that they believed the dogs and their owners shared.
What’s not known is whether that’s because dog and owner tend to take on a similar appearance (my personal theory), or because people look for certain traits or predispositions that might match their own when choosing a dog.
(Photo: courtesy of afunnystuff.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alike, appearance, dog, dogs, expressions, humans, look, lookalikes, owner, personality, relationships, resemblance, san diego, studies, traits, university of south carolina