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. This was to determine which parts of the brain they were using.
 
They found that dogs processed words with the left hemisphere of their brain.  Meanwhile, pitch was processed with the right hemisphere. That is just like humans.
 
What's more, the dogs only registered that they were being praised if the words and pitch 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. He is a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University. It is 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. That means 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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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do dogs have an interest in human speech?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (350)
  • kcailey-dav
    9/08/2016 - 06:21 p.m.

    In response to "dogs hearing humans," I agree that dogs understand humans . One reason I agree is that when ever u tell your dog to sit (if there trained) they'll do it. Another reason is that you train your dog like you train kids like where to do there business and how to speak . It says in the article that dogs prosses sounds like we do. A third reason is if dogs were more evolved they would outrank us and we would be there pets. Even though I agree, I think that dogs might not fully understand us.

  • smattison-dav
    9/08/2016 - 07:19 p.m.

    In the article is says that scientists find out that dogs under stand what you are saying. I believe that dogs can understand us humans in different ways. Also in the article it states that dogs have socialized with humans for many years. Dogs can process what we humans are saying they also process the words the same way that we do. I talk to my dog all the time and the way they react is depending on what I say. The reason I believe this the most is because they know there names from other names and if I say it in a strict manner they know what it means.

  • smadison-dav
    9/08/2016 - 08:36 p.m.

    In response to " Science find that dogs understand that your saying," I disagree that dogs can understand what your saying. I disagree is that dogs don't speak English and they respond in a way of our tone. Another reason is that dogs do what they want even though it might be a coincidence from the dog's response. It says in the article " the dogs only registered that they were being praised if the words are pitch are positive". The article means that the dogs would react to the pitch of your voice. A third reason is that if you say a word a different way your dog will react either way if you say it low or high. Even though dogs could know what your saying, I think dogs respond to us by memorizing what we say and how we say it and they know there times that they should do stuff.

  • talex-dav
    9/08/2016 - 08:57 p.m.

    in response to "Scientist Find That Dogs Know What You're Saying" It was very interesting to read. I read that no dogs were hurt during the tests, I know that my dog would hate that. Overall this article was very interesting to read because I myself am a dog lover.

  • bkyle-dav
    9/08/2016 - 09:32 p.m.

    In response to "Scientists find that dogs understand what your saying," I agree that dogs can understand you. One reason I agree is that if you call your dog’s name, he/she will come to you. Another reason I agree is that, according to the article, "Dogs process words with the left hemisphere of their brain and pitch is processed with the right hemisphere," which would be why sometimes dogs understand how to do the things we tell them to, like, "sit down" or “shake". A third reason I agree is that in the article it says, "Dog brains care about both what we say and how we say it, " so it means that if we tell a dog to fetch and we say it in a firm voice, then they will go fetch it. Even though scientists recently found out that dogs understood us, I think they could understand humans the whole time.

  • amelia-hae-har
    9/09/2016 - 10:15 a.m.

    That was an interesting article. I would love to learn more about it!

    • aaliyahv-hei
      9/21/2016 - 03:34 p.m.

      I agree with you because the passage was very interesting i never knew that much about dogs now i do

  • roxana-jac-har
    9/09/2016 - 10:18 a.m.

    Personally, I'd love to have a dog but my family can't since we're never home. I can see as to why a dog would have interest in being able to communicate with it's owner, since they're very social creatures and take interest in cooperating with our species. These animals are also highly intelligent; can process what we say, and how we say it in their own unique way. I'm also very ecstatic as to how they mentioned the animals weren't forced to do this and they were left unharmed.

  • caden-and-har
    9/09/2016 - 10:19 a.m.

    That was very interesting and I learned something new today.

  • makiia-jon-har
    9/09/2016 - 10:19 a.m.

    I think that dogs have a interest in human speech because we talk to them and give them simple commands and because when we are excited we speak in a different tone of voice and it makes them excited too.

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