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Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2023

Horses cross-modally recognize women and men


Abstract Several studies have shown that horses have the ability to cross-modally recognize humans by associating their voice with their physical appearance. However, it remains unclear whether horses are able to differentiate humans according to different criteria, such as the fact that they are women or men. Horses might recognize some human characteristics, such as sex, and use these characteristics to classify them into different categories. The aim of this study was to explore whether domesticated horses are able to cross-modally recognize women and men according to visual and auditory cues, using a preferential looking paradigm. We simultaneously presented two videos of women and men’s faces, while playing a recording of a human voice belonging to one of these two categories through a loudspeaker. The results showed that the horses looked significantly more towards the congruent video than towards the incongruent video, suggesting that they are able to associate women’s voices with women’s faces and men’s voices with men’s faces. Further investigation is necessary to determine the mechanism underlying this recognition, as it might be interesting to determine which characteristics horses use to categorize humans. These results suggest a novel perspective that could allow us to better understand how horses perceive humans.
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hal-04069771 , version 1 (14-04-2023)



Chloé Gouyet, Monamie Ringhofer, Shinya Yamamoto, Plotine Jardat, Céline Parias, et al.. Horses cross-modally recognize women and men. Scientific Reports, 2023, 13 (1), pp.3864. ⟨10.1038/s41598-023-30830-6⟩. ⟨hal-04069771⟩
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