Dogs are rated as some of the most clever and intelligent animals. Dogs can read human intentions too! Yes, recent study has found that dogs beat primates in interaction with humans and are better at reading human intentions and truly seem to understand us.
Researchers in Hungary, tested dogs’ willingness to cooperate and sit still in an MRI machine. After tracking the brain activities of dogs, the researchers found that dogs were able to determine emotional tone behind the words they heard. They also felt rewarded when the words indicated praise!
The researchers work in Budapest, and their hypothesis says: dogs can recognize both the meaning of what’s being said as well as the intonation used in saying it. So next time if you praise your dog saying “Good Boy” you actually need to mean it!
The dogs had to sit still in an MRI tube and MRI performed functional scans which identified the regions in the brains of dogs that were increased in activity after stimulus. The words were the stimuli and were recorded in tones like higher and neutral tones. The higher ones generally indicated praising tones and positive statements were also recorded in both neutral and praising tones.
In humans, the left side of the brain specializes in identifying the meaning of spoken words and it is the same case with dogs. The experiment also showed no indication of enhanced activity in canine brains when conjunctions were played. The auditory systems of dogs also picked up on tone, and responses were stronger to higher ones.
The reward centers only lit up when both the tone and words were consistent with praise. So if the dog’s brains responded more strongly to their owners praise, the dog was likely to run towards the owner instead of food. It’s estimated that dogs can track up to 1,000 different words associated with items and can actually perceive the meaning of certain bits of human speech.
Title Image: natgeo