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Sheep can recognize human faces from photographs

09 November, 2017, 01:42 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Face it: Sheep are just like us when it comes to recognizing people

The research's lead author Prof Jenny Morton said, "What we did is ask whether a sheep could learn to recognise someone from a photograph".

"We also chose them because we were sure that our sheep had never met them in person!".

Sheep learnt to recognise Barack Obama after being shown his photo a few dozen times, said a study on November 8 which suggested our four-legged friends may be smarter than we think.

Initially, the sheep were trained to approach certain images by being given food rewards. After training the sheep again showed two images - a person studied celebrities and the unknown person - and eight times out of ten they came to the celebrities with all the enthusiasm.

Sheep are social animals and can recognise other sheep as well as familiar humans.

"Our study gives us another way to monitor how these abilities change, particularly in sheep who carry the gene mutation that causes Huntington's disease", she pointed out. "Although I didn't think sheep could recognize emotion, it made me think about face recognition as a complex brain process". One was a celebrity it had seen before, and one was a photo of a non-celebrity who looked similar and had the same gender and ethnicity. And humans use faces for more than recognition, he wrote: "Our emotions, the open and instinctive emotions that Darwin wrote about, as well as the hidden or repressed ones that Freud wrote about, are displayed on our faces, along with our thoughts and intentions". Maybe they just didn't like that the non-familiar lacked a reward, for example. "Sheep successfully recognized the four celebrity faces from tilted images".

Sheep can be trained to recognize celebrities like Barack Obama and Jake Gyllenhaal, new research shows. The sheep didn't do as well but still passed, recognizing the celebrities about 68 percent of the time - a drop in performance comparable to that seen in humans performing the same task. "I guess they have extended our work to show that sheep generalize viewpoints of the faces, which does require a rich representation of the identity".

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