Dogs CAN Understand Humans! Hurrah!

dogs can undesrtand

A recent study at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest has found that dogs really can understand us!

Scientists and dog trainers performed the first ever real-time imaging of dogs’ brains using an fMRI machine to see how they reacted to various recordings of human, dog and other sounds.

It turns out that dogs, like humans, have areas of the brain devoted to processing vocal sounds and identifying emotions. Scientists believe this may be a common trait of all mammals and developed at least 100 millions years ago when our last common ancestor walked the earth.

11 dogs took part in the study, and some actually helped train the others how to lie still in the machine! A comparison group of 22 men and women were also studied. The two groups were played 200 recordings of laughter, crying, whining, playful barking, car sounds and various others while the blood flow in their brains was monitored.

mridogs group

Dogs and humans showed similar changes in blood flow to certain regions, indicating similar vocal processing areas in the brain that respond to emotions. It also appears that dogs are better at understanding humans than we are at understanding dogs, and that dogs are more sensitive to non vocal sounds than humans (almost ten times so, which explains all that barking at the hoover!).

This will come as no surprise to us dog lovers. Now if we could just get them to speak…

Sources:

BBC News, Science Daily, The Independent, Wired

Journal:

Attila Andics, Márta Gácsi, Tamás Faragó, Anna Kis, Ádám Miklósi. Voice-Sensitive Regions in the Dog and Human Brain Are Revealed by Comparative fMRI. Current Biology, February 2014