Ever feel like no person out there understands you, like no-one gets what you’re saying, except your dog? According to new research, you might not be as crazy as you think.
Hungarian researchers attempted to see just how dogs processed comments made by their humans, to see how much they understood and the way in which the brain handles it.
The brain scans showed that dogs use the same part of the brain as humans when it comes to processing commands, with man’s best friend able to discern between positive, neutral, and negative comments.
The research didn’t exactly state that dogs have somehow acquired a brilliant command of language – i.e. Hungarian, which most humans couldn’t hope to achieve – but instead relied largely upon intonation, along with signals given by body language.
If the dog was receiving positive feedback, it could process this as positive feedback provided the intonation and associated body language was also positive. Test it out at home with your friendly pooch by saying ‘bad, evil dog’ with a smile, or maybe don’t be a terrible pet owner and just trust the scientists who already did it.
Aside from having to watch what you say around your dog, the research bodes well for developing an understanding of how different animals have the capacity to process human speech.
As noted by researcher Attila Antics, “the neural capacities to process words that were thought by many to be uniquely human are actually shared with other species.”
The researchers noted that it’s quite possible other animals have a similar degree of comprehension of human speech, but they were not good test subjects because they just generally seemed to have little interest in listening to humans speaking. *Cough* cats *cough*.
(Although we shouldn’t go too hard on cats, they do occasionally write and edit scientific research papers after all.)
Dogs provided the ideal test subjects because, as we eluded to in the first paragraph and as you’ve known all along, dogs are just good listeners. But if you’re a loving dog owner, you probably already knew that.