Dogs can understand human speech a lot better than we thought
Describing their findings in Science magazine, scientists showed that dogs use the same regions of their brains as humans when deciphering verbal commands.
Within this study, 13 dogs were trained to lie still in an MRI scanner while listening to their masters’ voices.
The dogs first heard words of praise said in a tone of approval, then the same words said in a neutral tone, and after that the same thing but in meaningless words.
It turned out that a dog’s left brain hemisphere is able to tell the meanings of words regardless of the intonation they are said with. This means that dogs can differentiate words upon hearing them, both positive and neutral, with any intonation, and understand their meaning.
At the same time, the right hemisphere of their brain helps the animal understand the difference between praising and non-praising intonation. It also helps them give the words they are hearing an emotional connection.
One of the originators of the study, Atilla Andics, explains that the study shows that the brain ’not only analyzes what we say and how we do it, but also unites two kinds of information to convey them as a whole.’
So talk to your pets more often — they are very good listeners.