Dogs Can Understand Human Emotion

March 7, 2014 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

A recent study proves what dog owners have known all along: their pet recognizes and reacts to their emotions. The researchers were able to discover that a dog’s brain responds to sounds, such as laughing and crying, in the same way as a human brain.

During the study, 11 dogs were trained to lie still for an fMRI scan. Twenty-two human volunteers also took part in a scan. Both the dogs and humans were played the same 200 different sounds such as non-word human sounds, barking, cars and whistles. While the pups reacted more strongly to dog sounds than human sounds, the areas of the brain that were activated by the noises were very similar in the dogs and the people. This is the first study to examine the canine brain in such detail.

No wonder dogs are a man’s best friend!

Source: Andics A, Gacsi M, Farago T, et al. Voice-sensitive regions in the dog and human brain are revealed by comparative fMRI. Current Biology, 20 February 2014; 10.1016/j.cub.2014.01.058.

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