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.
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 University of Veterinary in Austria. 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.
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 to the animals directly. After monitoring the animals’ responses during the experiments, they found live talking was the best mood enhancer for their bovine friends. After this treatment, heart rates were lower than after listening to a recorded voice, showing that the animals were more relaxed following the live chat.