Dog Brain Scans Reveal Vocal Responses

by Alessia

In an article by BBC News, results of a study have reported that dog owners who believe that their dogs can understand them are actually correct in assuming so. These dog brain scans reveal vocal responses to human emotions such as laughter and crying. The results have scientists considering that dogs process emotional information in the same way that humans do.

brain scanner


Eleven dogs participated in this study, and were trained to lay still in the scanners for up to eight hours with positive reinforcement. Twenty two humans were involved in the study as well, and both the pooches and humans listened to over two hundred emotionally charged sounds from both canines and humans, as well as environmental noises like beeping cars and whistles. It appears that the same area of both the human and canine brain, the temporal pole, is activated when the human voice, or an emotionally charged dog sound is heard.

brain scans


Scientists are now beginning to understand why dogs can be so attune to human emotions, for example, calming down to be protective and attentive when their human is crying. However, their brains were more attentive to canine sounds than the human sounds and were less likely to distinguish certain human and environmental sounds than the human participants were.

dog scans


Overall, the human brain is understandably more attentive to all of the types of sounds played in the study, but it was surprising to see the dog’s responses. To take the study a step further, it is said that it would be interesting to see how a dog responds to sensitivity in human voices and words because it has been shown in studies before that dogs have a lot of traits that make them amenable to humans.

Very interesting indeed! Do you believe that your dog understands all of your emotions?

Alessia xx

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