What Is Your Dog Thinking?

If you have ever wondered what your dog was thinking, you were right to believe they experience thought processes, says a new study. Currently in the initial phase, dog brain scans are being conducted at Emory University. The scans are non-invasive Magnetic Resonance Imaging, so none of the dogs are being harmed. In fact, the Emory researchers are the first to conduct these kinds of experiments while the dogs are fully alert and unrestrained.

“As far as we know, no one has been able to do this previously. We hope this opens up a whole new door for understanding canine cognition and inter-species communication,” said lead researcher Gregory Berns. (Source: Phys.org) The main purpose of studying canine thought processes is to better understand the relationship between humans and dogs.

Just two dogs are involved in the first part of the study and both are fairly young. One is an adopted Feist (squirrel hunter) and the other is a Border Collie. They were both trained to walk into an MRI scanner and hold very still. So far, the researchers have seen activity in the caudate region of the dog brains when the subjects were shown a hand signal representing a food treat. (This area of the brain has been studied in humans and is associated with rewards and romantic love.) When the dogs were shown the hand signal for no treat, there was no response  in their brains.

One of the researchers said the canine brain responses they have documented indicate dogs are very attentive to human signals. This sensitivity actually may be rooted in the domestication of dogs, dating back to about 30,000 years ago. Dogs were the first species domesticated by humans. Related research has speculated certain humans and domesticated dogs co-evolved, and each species has been impacted by the other over time.

Image Credit: sannse, Wiki Commons

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60 comments

Onyekachi N.
Onyekachi N.3 years ago

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Onyekachi N.3 years ago

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Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Jake, for Sharing this!

Vanessa Wolfe
Vanessa Wolfe4 years ago

We who have shared our lives with animals already know their depth of feeling and great intellingence. But for those still not enlightened and who base their assumptions on scientific facts alone these may be the kind of studies that will help our causes against animal cruelty. Maybe.

Walter G.
Walter G.4 years ago

Maby the person who authored this can do a stufdy of what our webmaster is thinking.

Walter G.
Walter G.4 years ago

Now that my dog has his own Samsung tablet, he types out his thoughts, unfortunately they are not in English, but he feels beter for having shared.

Walter G.
Walter G.4 years ago

Now that my dog has his own Samsung tablet, he types out his thoughts, unfortunately they are not in English, but he feels beter for having shared.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Despina V.
Despina Vekris4 years ago

noted

Doug D.
Doug D.4 years ago

Why did they need an MRI to figure that out? Didn't Pavlov's dog essentially give us the same information?