No matter how much we like dogs, most of us don’t want to look like a dog. There are exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of humans want to look like a human. Still, everyone has seen someone with an uncanny likeness to their dog. Many dog owners even see something of their dog in their own face in the mirror.
It would be easy to dismiss this as one of those things that aren’t real, but when shown a photo lineup of random people and random dogs, test subjects are able to match owners and pets.
It would be easy to dismiss that with people seeking out pets that have something in common with themselves. Maybe men would be more likely to have large dogs and women more likely to have toy breeds, or maybe women with long hair would be more likely to have dogs with long hair and floppy ears?
The ability to match strangers with their pets remain even when these types of characteristics are ruled out.
A Japanese scientist recently set out to solve the mystery. In prior tests he has proven that test subjects can match photos of owners and their dogs by looking at their faces – and see that arbitrarily coupled dogs and people were fake pairs. This time, 502 students were presented with 40 human faces and 40 dog faces.
When shown the entire faces, 80 percent could pick the real life pairs. The interesting thing is that when shown only eyes of humans and dogs, 74 percent could still pick out real life pairs. The scientists ran the test again, and in a second group of test subjects 76 percent could pick out the pairs just looking at the eyes.
Thus far, no one knows how this works, but there is something in the eyes of humans and dogs that can show to complete strangers that they belong together.