LONDON: After months of technology-based communication enforced by Covid-19, many may be missing a ‘live’ human interaction, but we are not the only ones feeling so — a new study reveals that cows too prefer a face-to-face chat.
The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, discovered that cows are actually more relaxed when spoken to directly by a live human, rather than when listening to a recorded voice via a loudspeaker.
“Cattle like stroking in combination with gentle talking.
In scientific contexts, a recording of a human voice speaking gently could be used to relax the animals, because it can be difficult to repeat the same phrases in the same way during experiments,” said study author Annika Lange from the University of Veterinary in Austria.
Using a recorded voice means conditions are as similar as possible in each trial, following a concept known as “standardisation” — an important principle of scientific experimentation. However, the team of scientists wanted to find out if cows respond differently to the sound of recorded voices compared to a human talking directly to them.
“Our study suggests that live talking is more relaxing for our animals than a recording of a human voice. Interactions may be less positive when they become artificial through standardization,” Lange added.
The team worked with a herd of 28 cattle, comparing the benefits of either stroking the animals while playing a recording of an experimenter’s voice or stroking while speaking