Scientists find that dogs understand what you're saying
Scientists find that dogs understand what you're saying In this undated photo provided by the MR Research Center some trained dogs are involved in a study to investigate how dog brains process speech sit around a scanner in Budapest, Hungary. (Borbala Ferenczy/MR Research Center via AP/AP Photo)
Scientists find that dogs understand what you're saying
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Scientists have found evidence to support what many dog owners have long believed: man's best friend really does understand some of what we're saying.
Researchers in Hungary scanned the brains of dogs as they were listening to their trainer speaking to determine which parts of the brain they were using.
They found that dogs processed words with the left hemisphere, while intonation was processed with the right hemisphere - just like humans.
What's more, the dogs only registered that they were being praised if the words and intonation were positive. Meaningless words spoken in an encouraging voice, or meaningful words in a neutral tone, didn't have the same effect.
"Dog brains care about both what we say and how we say it," said lead researcher Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. "Praise can work as a reward only if both word meaning and intonation match."
Andics said the findings suggest that the mental ability to process language evolved earlier than previously believed and that what sets humans apart from other species is the invention of words.
"The neural capacities to process words that were thought by many to be uniquely human are actually shared with other species," he said. "This suggests that the big change that made humans able to start using words was not a big change in neural capacity."
While other species probably also have the mental ability to understand language like dogs do, their lack of interest in human speech makes it difficult to test, said Andics.
Dogs, on the other hand, have socialized with humans for thousands of years, meaning they are more attentive to what people say to them and how.
The study was published in the journal Science.
Andics also noted that all of the dogs were awake, unrestrained and happy during the tests.
"They participated voluntarily," he said.

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Why do dogs have an interest in human speech?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • parkerz-cel
    9/12/2016 - 09:30 a.m.

    dogs only have an interest in human speech if it is in a positive tone and sounds as if it is rewarding. dogs will hear the tone with the right side of their brain and if the tone is positive they will process it with the left side of their brain. just like humans people react to positive reactions and since dogs are mans best friend I believe this is why they react the same way.

  • metau-cel
    9/12/2016 - 10:31 a.m.

    Dogs have an interest in human speech because their domestication and connection with their owner is what they look for in life. Their relationship with their owner is what they literally live for and dogs feel it is their duty to protect, and love their owner. I believe dogs have an interest in human speech because like humans they look to do good and please, they know when they have done otherwise, so in a way they are interested in the humans opinion of their action.

  • noahr-ste
    9/14/2016 - 01:47 p.m.

    This is interesting how the dogs brain works like a humans brain and they have both a left and right hemisphere that work the same way. That is how they can understand us so well and that is amazing how that works.

  • summer2-war
    9/16/2016 - 10:17 a.m.

    It is so interesting how most animals, though they probably have the mental capacity to learn to understand human languages, dogs are, according to this article, truly the only species that are interested in actually doing so. The bond between dogs and humans is truly intriguing. To my understanding of this concept that dogs comprehend what we are saying to them, mostly when they memorize phrases, such as "let's go for a walk", dogs mostly understand us based on the tone of our voice, which proves that it is so important to speak positively to your dog.

  • hannah6-war
    9/16/2016 - 12:26 p.m.

    I liked this article a lot. I think that the fact we can scan dogs brains is very interesting. I also liked how they pointed out that dogs interpret words with the left hemisphere of their brain, just like humans. I didn't know that not only do the dogs care about what we say to them, but also how we say things to them.

  • katelyn3-war
    9/16/2016 - 12:32 p.m.

    Being that I have four dogs I know how much they communicate not only just when we talk to them. Dogs learn to adapt to the different tones of their owners and learn to communicate with them. For scientists to prove what all dog owners already knew is amazing.

  • eli-war
    9/16/2016 - 01:53 p.m.

    that is so cool that dogs can understand what we are saying, I talk to my dogs all the time and I feel like that they understand what i`m saying for example when I tell my dog to get out of my room it leaves

  • olivia-war
    9/16/2016 - 01:59 p.m.

    It's really cool that sometimes they understand what we are saying to them.

  • 1gissellet5-fil
    9/21/2016 - 11:54 a.m.

    A dogs brain works like a human brain,both hemispheres light up when they are interested in our words.Dogs process the information by"what we say and how we say it" said the researcher Attila Andics.

  • humbertoc-fil
    9/21/2016 - 01:07 p.m.


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