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The new study, the details of which now appear in Current Biology, is the first to perform a comparative neurological analysis of humans and a non-primate species. After extensive training (12 sessions) and a generous diet of positive reinforcement, 11 dogs were readied for the experiment. The dogs were trained to lie completely still for as long as eight minutes at a time (subjects must remain completely motionless in an MRI scanner for it to work properly). The dogs were given headphones to both muffle the loud, whining noises emanating from the scanner (it can reach 95 decibels), and to provide the 200 individual sounds required for the experiment.
Analysis of the scans showed that the temporal pole (a.k.a. Brodmann area 38) — the most anterior region of the temporal lobe — lit up when both dogs and humans heard human voices. This part of the brain — previously thought unique to humans — is thought to process incoming sounds, giving rise to emotional responses. In humans, this area becomes active when voices are heard. But now it appears that it becomes active in dogs as well — the first time scientists have observed this in a non-primate.
reply to post by St0rD
I have a 10 year old Lab/boxer and my wife and I have to spell words around her we dare not utter the words bone, can cat, and candy around her. She even understands when she gets pushy about a rawhide bone to chew on that when I say next commercial or just wait a minute she know to back off until such time. She is one squirrely bird.
Animals can feel energy (in human words, emotions). It is a universal animal language. Have you ever been watching a group of wild animals out in the yard, perhaps a squirrel, rabbit and a deer all eating peacefully? Clearly these animals are not speaking words to one another asking if they all come in peace; somehow they all know that they are not going to harm one another. Or perhaps you know a dog that other dogs do not tend to like, or a cat that likes one dog but not another. Or perhaps you know of a person who dogs are prone to bark at. When I was a kid growing up I had a Lab mix who loved everyone. There was not a single person he didn't like, except for my uncle. When my uncle would come around he would bark at him. I later discovered that many dogs tended to bark at my uncle and as I got older I realized my uncle was a very tense, nervous person.
Another example was a time when my husband and I were driving down the road with our two dogs in a van that did not have any windows in the back. The dogs were sleeping on the van floor. Suddenly our Pit Bull stood up and started growling. I was in the passenger seat and didn’t see or hear anything. My husband, on the other hand, was amazed. He had just passed a cop and for a split second thought he may have been speeding and at the exact moment he felt a chill of fear run down his spine, his dog had popped up from his curled up sleep and growled, not at us but toward the walls of the moving van. The dog had felt his fear and was jumping up in protection mode.
Dogs interpret human emotions such as worry, anxiety, fear, anger, pity and nervousness, as weaknesses and they do not listen to these emotions. Dogs listen best to someone who is calm but firm in their approach. They use their sense of energy to determine who should be the leader of their pack. The being with the strongest and most stable energy is the one they look to, be it themselves or another being around them. While you can hide your emotions from another human, you cannot hide them from a dog.
Dogs detect sounds in the frequency range of approximately 67 - 45,000 Hz (varies with different breeds), compared to humans with the approximate range of 64 - 23,000 Hz. As humans and dogs get older they both lose the ability to hear certain frequencies.
Dogs have 18 or more muscles in their ears allowing them to be mobile, whereas a human has only 6 and can only move their ears slightly, if at all. Dogs with perked ears can usually hear better than dogs with hanging ears, especially if they can move their ears in the direction of the sound.