A new report from The New York Times finds that dog brains process speech very similarly to humans, understanding both words and the tone behind them.
Dog scientists (yes, this is a real thing) in Europe trained 13 pups to sit in MRI machines while researchers spoke to them, using different words and different tones. The results found that the left side of a dog brain picked up the meaning of the word and the right side of the brain understood intonation. That’s basically how human brains work, too.
From The New York Times:
A trainer spoke words in Hungarian — common words of praise used by dog owners like “good boy,” “super” and “well done.” The trainer also tried neutral words like “however” and “nevertheless.” Both the praise words and neutral words were offered in positive and neutral tones.
The positive words spoken in a positive tone prompted strong activity in the brain’s reward centers. All the other conditions resulted in significantly less action, and all at the same level.
I’ll be honest, I kind of just assumed this was already a known fact. I can say pretty much any word to my dog, but all they really care about is my tone. Unless the word is “walk.” If I say “walk” to my cute little puppy, her dog face lights up with joy — regardless of my tone. Even though she doesn’t get the fact that it’s 6:30 a.m., raining and under 40 degrees outside. I’m 95 percent sure my german shepherd would be better at my job than I am. I know she’d work harder, at least.
So make more of an effort to talk to your dog. Leave the TV on for the dog. Read it a book. Dogs are just as smart as humans but without all the terrible shit we bring along like anxiety and depression. Dogs are the perfect beings..
[via New York Times]
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