Elisabetta Palagi and Giada Cordoni – Animals 2020, 10(2), 241; https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/2/241/htm
It is now widely accepted that animals may express and perceive emotions. This capacity has an adaptive value because it allows animals to respond to various situations quickly and appropriately thus facilitating their survival and increasing their reproductive success. Through spontaneous mimicry, animals can share their emotional mood and this appears to be particularly fruitful when the relationships are not inhibited by rank rules and when animals build and maintain their bonds through cooperation and social affiliation. Dogs represent a very good model to test hypotheses about the importance of mimicry in regulating emotional sharing because they can be tested at both intra- and inter-specific levels. The intra-specific evidence will help us to understand what the social cognitive potential is at the basis of the evolution of the emotional “intimacy” between dogs and their human companions.