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That's right — scientists are actually studying the dog brains. And what the studies show is welcome news for all dog owners: Not only do dogs seem to love us back, they actually see us as their family. It turns out that dogs rely on humans more than they do their own kind for affection, protection and everything in between.
The scientists found that dog owners' aroma actually sparked activation in the "reward center" of their brains, called the caudate nucleus. Of all the wafting smells to take in, dogs actually prioritized the hint of humans over anything or anyone else.
Among other surprising findings, the study revealed marked similarities in the way dog and human brains process emotionally laden vocal sounds. Researchers found that happy sounds in particular light up the auditory cortex in both species. This commonality speaks to the uniquely strong communication system underlying the dog-human bond. In short: Dogs don't just seem to pick up on our subtle mood changes — they are actually physically wired to pick up on them.
dogs are an excellent model to study the social cognition in a comparative approach, as they possess unique cognitive skills that make them more similar to a human infant than other species [6–10]. Although the ability to discriminate between two human faces is not exclusive to dogs (it has been observed in other species that are in close contact with humans, such as sheep), the detail of the information that a dog can acquire from a mere glimpse towards a human face, even without training , is extraordinary. Dogs are especially good at discriminating between two humans, even if they are both familiar to them , but also, they have a remarkable ability to pick up small but important signals in a human face, like the attentional state  (e.g., they prefer to ask for food from a human with whom they can establish eye contact), and the emotional state  (they can discriminate between smiling and neutral faces). Similarly, dogs spend more time looking at a new human face in an image than at a familiar one, which suggests that they can discriminate between individuals using only visual cues . Also, dogs pay significantly less attention to their owner, if the owner has his or her head covered . This tendency to look at a human face during interaction has not been found in other canids, not even in extremely socialized wolves . Altogether, these findings show that dogs are capable of perceiving subtle traits in human faces and that they use this information to modulate their behavior.
The results show the hormone increased by an average of 57.2 per cent in dogs but only by 12 per cent in cats. This means in theory, dogs love their humans more than cats do. "I was really surprised to discover that dogs produced such high levels of oxytocin… the dog level of 57.2 per cent is a very powerful response. It shows these dogs really care about their owners. It was also a nice surprise to discover that cats produce any at all. At least some of the time, cats seem to bond with their owners,” he added. Some think that cats don't actually like their owners at all - this study at least proves that wrong.
Dogs may be man's best friend, but new research shows that cats may have been humanity's companions for thousands of years. For more on the feline's long history with people, Audie Cornish talks with Dr. Fiona Marshall, an archaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis, and co-author of a study that looks at how cats may have been domesticated almost 5,300 years ago in China.
Scientists have long studied the close relationship between humans and dogs, and various theories have been proposed to explain just how far back in time the relationship goes. Most agree that dogs and humans have coexisted for at least 16,000 years. In this new effort, the research team suggests it might be twice that long Read more at: phys.org...
And... proof that dogs love their owners more than cats do..(sorry cat lovers)