A team of Hungarian scientists discovered that dogs understand human speech better than we initially believed. The findings are not just important when it comes to understanding how to communicate with our pets better, but also in learning how the ability to speak and understanding language evolved in humans.
- The sample used in the experiments consisted in intelligent dog breeds.
- Researchers found that dogs understand human speech better than we initially believed.
- The pets are capable of differentiating between the words spoken by their master and the tone that he or she is using.
There are a few categories of dog owners. Those who shower them with praise, not scorning them for anything, those who are firm even if they adore their pet, and those who, even when they feel the need to punish the animal for a negative deed, can’t do so with both tone and language.
However, no matter the circumstance or the message that is sent, all dog owners speak to their pets, and most of them are convinced of the fact that the canines understand what their owners are saying.
Scientists gathered a small sample of dogs with ages ranging from one to twelve years and trained them to sit tight in a special fMRI scanner. The device is used to measure brain activity and map the areas of the brain that get excited when the animal interacts with certain factors.
While the animals were connected to the machine, the researchers played a couple of recordings. The tape featured the voice of the dogs’ trainer that was conveying different types of messages.
From neutral words spoken in a positive, negative, or neutral tone to words of praise spoken in different ways, or negative words uttered in an appraising manner, the recordings covered all of the possible combinations.
While the dogs listened to the various speeches, the machines recorded the activity in their brains and discovered that dogs understand human speech better than it was initially believed.
It seems that the pets use different parts of their brains to process words and tonalities, meaning that when we call them “a good dog” while praising them, the animals understand that we are, indeed, communicating in a positive manner.
The subjects looked confused when the voice scorned them in a positive tonality or vice versa, proving that they are able to process the information on a more complex level than they were originally given credit.
Image source: Wikipedia