A New Research Has Found How the Dogs Process Words

A New Research Has Found How the Dogs Process Words

They say the dogs are the most faithful friend to Man, and have you ever thought about how dogs process words or what is happening in dog’s brain when it hears you say squirrel? It was realized a new research where it showed how dog’s brains react to human words.

“When your dog hears the word squirrel, it might perk up or even run to a window and look out. But, to your dog, does the word mean, “Something is happening?” Or does your dog picture a small, bushy-tailed rodent?”, mentions earthsky.org.

The study revealed that dogs have at least a rudimentary neural representation of meaning for words they’ve been taught and can differentiate words they’ve heard before from those they have not.

Eddie, one of the dogs that participated in the study, poses in the fMRI scanner with two of the toys used in the experiments_ Image via Gregory Berns_Image credit_earthsky.org
Eddie, one of the dogs that participated in the study, poses in the fMRI scanner with two of the toys used in the experiments_ Image via Gregory Berns_Image credit_earthsky.org

The research has been published on October 15, 2018, in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, “used brain imaging to probe how dogs process words they have been taught to associate with objects”.

Ashley Prichard is a Ph.D. candidate in Emory University’s Department of Psychology and first author of the study. She said in a statement: “Many dog owners think that their dogs know what some words mean, but there really isn’t much scientific evidence to support that. We wanted to get data from the dogs themselves — not just owner reports”.

Neuroscientist Gregory Berns is senior author of the study, and author of the bestselling book What It’s Like to be a Dog. Burns added: “We know that dogs have the capacity to process at least some aspects of human language since they can learn to follow verbal commands. Previous research, however, suggests dogs may rely on many other cues to follow a verbal command, such as gaze, gestures and even emotional expressions from their owners.”

For the research 12 dogs have been trained where a dog lay in the fMRI scanner while the dog’s owner stood directly in front of the dog at the opening of the machine and said the names of the dog’s toys at set intervals, then showed the dog the corresponding toys. See the photo below!

Image via Gregory Burns_Image credit_earthsky.org
how dogs process words image via Gregory Burns_Image credit_earthsky.org

After the study Pritchard said: “We expected to see that dogs neurally discriminate between words that they know and words that they don’t. What’s surprising is that the result is opposite to that of research on humans — people typically show greater neural activation for known words than novel words”.

Source: Text; earthsky.org,

Image Credit; earthsky.org, www.mnn.com