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Why the Brains of Dogs and Humans Are More Similar Than You Think

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posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 11:52 AM
I've always believed that most living creatures are conscious in one way or another. They all have the flow of life running in their veins, therefore they can't just be robots.

We may not understand it fully yet, but consciousness isn't only to be viewed as the capacity to think just like humans do. It's much more complex than we would like to think.

I've just found this article that puts forward a research which claims dogs might be as conscious as human children. Interesting perspective, heh? It doesn't surprise me much when I take into consideration how much have intelligence my dog has proven to have over the years...

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.

FULL READ > Research

I look forward for the day we will respect animal creatures such as much as we respect ourselves.

edit on 21-2-2014 by St0rD because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 12:08 PM
Good find..
I've had three dogs that lived their entire lives by my side and I never once questioned the presence of their consciousnesses, just that they are simpler than our own (I don't believe my dog spends his day contemplating his own existence, but who knows). I've had stronger bonds with my dogs than I've had with most people. Sometimes I wonder if my dog is a loyal companion to me solely for the fact that I give him food, but I have a hard time buying that he is driven solely by animal needs - there certainly is a common spark that exists in ALL animals including humans.

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 01:18 PM
reply to post by St0rD

There are those of us that already believe that animals are above and beyond people if its only there oneness with the planet.

The fact that certain pets can show a human what real unconditional love is to me a wonder in its own right...its about all that keeps me grounded these days.

Good post and link, thank you.

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 01:31 PM
reply to post by Battleline

That's right, unconditionnal love is something I've learned from my mother AND my dogs at the same time. No matter what you do or say to your fellow animal, it will always be there for you the next minute if you need it. No hard feelings involved.

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 02:02 PM
reply to post by St0rD

Why would there be hard feelings involved ? You had a mother...great!

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 02:17 PM
We are now seeing this almost on a weekly basis, human brains not being different from other animals
- parrots showing signs of superstition
- whales showing levels of self awareness
- chimpanzees recognise themselves in the mirror

And now dogs...

We are not so special

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 02:29 PM
reply to post by St0rD

Nice OP

Humans and dogs have had a symbiotic relationship for centuries and it seems intuitive that each has contributed to the other. In terms of behaviours, we're influenced by our dogs in the same way we've moulded their behaviours.

Over centuries of human/dog relationships it appears reasonable to me that aspects of our thinking have become intertwined and ingrained in our respective brains.

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 02:39 PM
As dog owners, most of us know its more than about food. It really is. They need love just as much as we do. They seem to do a better job than most humans. They even mourn. Its been around 10,000 years since dogs began relying on humans for their survival. I suppose they are ever evolving and surpassing others in the animal kingdom due to their attachment to us...more intelligent beings. Life would be fairly empty for many of us without this special bond we have. The things they do are incredible and I am always amazed at their intelligence. No matter how much they lick themselves and other things.

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 02:51 PM
My dogs understand my intent when i speak. Not everything i say, but important things. "leave it" and they drop wht they have and walk away from it. "Go see....(name)", nd they go to the side of that person.

I don't train my dogs. They are my friends. And we communicate. They don't bark or scratch to go outside...but they let you know that is what they want. One of them will start sneezing. The other will just dance in place.

They are far, far smarter than we would believe. I think if we unlock those secrets, we unlock consciousness.

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 05:59 PM
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.

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 08:01 PM

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.

Now, what are you gonna do when your dog learns how to spell the words you are hiding from her? That's not a joke...I had that happen with my last two dogs! She learns quickly you are hiding something, and will learn what words you are spelling!

posted on Feb, 21 2014 @ 08:53 PM
Interesting Stuff !

I'm amazed that there are still folks who think dogs are not conscious... they are much more aware than alot of humans. They just interpret things a tad differently than the human. It doesn't mean they are not intelligent. Just because a dogs brain doesn't process things exactly like a human brain does, this should not negate the intelligence. This is where humans get stuck inside boxes. We expect everything to operate identical to ourselves.

Having said the above, I still think its great that research of this nature is being done. We can always learn from it.

I've had the opportunity to work with dogs through the years so maybe because of my involvement I've seen firsthand the intelligence and capabilities.

Some more interesting little facts about dogs.

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.



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