Scientists have recently completed research that shows the similarities between canine brains, and human ones. Man’s best friend, the dog, has been proven to use similar brain mechanisms to humans, when processing social information. So, there is substance to the enduring relationship between humans and dogs, and here is a little more information about the finer details of the studies:
What exactly has science discovered?
The canine brain is acutely sensitive to vocal emotions in human voices, just as we are. In one of the first studies to compare human brains with animals not including primates, evidence has been uncovered to show that there is a dedicated area of a dogs’ brain, for listening to voices and recognizing the difference in emotional tones. The canine brain then goes on to respond the acoustic clues it has been given in the sound of the voice, in much the same way as humans.
More about the study…
For this most recent scientific study, experts trained 11 dogs to lie without moving while they underwent an MRI to scan their brains. In doing so, the scientists were able to run the exact same neuroimaging experiments on dogs and humans, and this had never been accomplished before.
The canine and human participants of the study, listened to the same range of sounds created by both, such as crying, barking, howling or laughing, and they found that both sets of brains have dedicated voice areas in similar spots in the brain.
It was found that while dogs did respond more to the sounds made by other dogs, and humans did the same to the sound of their own voices, the way both sets of brains reacted were startlingly akin, particularly when compared to other species.
What else did the study show?
As much as we all want to believe that our beloved furry friends truly do love us, we now have some evidence that they can genuinely experience feelings of love and affection towards In another study, there were found to be similarities in dogs and humans brains when responding to positive emotions.
With the use of hand gestures to help a dog realise when they were about to be given a treat, researchers discovered that dogs and humans shared a similar response in an area of the brain associated with positive emotions, called the caudate nucleus.
What does this study aim to show us?
The previous line of thought was that a dog would respond positively to the prospect of a treat, simply because it was a treat. They were excited at receiving food, and it didn’t matter who they were receiving it from. But neuroscientists hope that their studies will show that dogs love us for so much more than the food that we give them, that they can show love for many of the same things that humans love us for, such as comfort, love and companionship.
For most of us who love dogs for myriad reasons, we don’t really care whether they truly do love us back, but we want so much to believe it. With the help of science, we can now be a little firmer in our beliefs, and in time, we may even go on to understand more about our best friends, leading to even deeper connections and relationships between us both.