A new study shows that dogs can really understand human language. Even dogs handle the words they hear in a similar way to humans in the same area as the language processing area in the human brain. This explains why people’s best friends are excited when we say “walking” or when we respond to them in a loving tone.
More than a dozen dogs are trained to stay still in a magnetic resonance scanner that helps scientists track how their brains work when toys are hung high above. When the team used the correct words to describe toys, or say nonsense words, different areas of the dogs’ brains lit up.
Neurology professor Gregory Berns of Emory University (USA) said: “Dogs can have different abilities and motivations to learn and understand human speech. They seem to show a nervous expression in front of the meaning of the words they have been taught, not just low-level reflexes like the reflexes discovered by Russian scientist Pavlov. ” .
Ashley Prichard, the first author of the study in Bern’s psychological lab, said: “Many dog owners think their dogs know the meaning of some words, but there is not really much scientific evidence to prove it. And we want to get data from the dog itself, not just based on the owner’s judgment. ”
Researchers focus on problems around the dog’s brain mechanism when listening to a speaker, even when they hear only one word. In the latest study, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, owners of 12 other dogs trained their dogs for months with the aim of finding and bringing back two different objects when they called their names. objects.
To make it easier to distinguish, they chose the first item to be a stuffed animal, while the second was a hard toy made of rubber. After bringing these items back to the owner, the dogs will be rewarded with food or praised.