Not only can goats tell when people are happy, but they also prefer interacting with happy people.
It is well known that human facial expressions are highly informative for dogs and horses.
Goats have been found to prefer people who are grinning rather than scowling when shown pictures of both.
"I have no doubt that animals know when they've been treated kindly", she says.
The ability of animals to perceive emotional expressions is not limited to those with a long history of domestication as companions.
During the training sessions, the experimenter with the pasta maintained a neutral expression and looked down at the ground.
Bernard the goat being offered a smiling and angry face. That works for creating a positive impression on other people. The team conducted four experimental sessions. The researchers also switched up the positions of the images, with the positive image sometimes being on the right side of the pen, and other times on the left.
The paper's first author, Dr Christian Nawroth, said: "We already knew that goats are very attuned to human body language, but we did not know how they react to different human emotional expressions, such as anger and happiness".
He thought maybe the goats would try to rip the photos off the wall and chew on them.
Get out there and smile at a goat if you get the chance! "And the goats were released on one side of a small enclosure a few meters across and they had to go across the enclosure". This suggests that goats may process friendly social cues using the left hemisphere of their brains, the team suggests.
A study by scientists at Queen Mary University of London provided evidence that goats read human emotional expressions.
The researchers believe their work has implications for understanding how animals process human emotions and facial cues.
The results of the study are not wholly conclusive.
According to Savalli Redigolo, the findings "should raise discussions about how we manage and treat these animals".
"The study has important implications for how we interact with livestock and other species, because the abilities of animals to perceive human emotions might be widespread and not just limited to pets", said Nawroth's colleague Alan McElligott.