If you own a pet pooch and suspected that it understands what you really mean when you say certain words such as ‘food,’ ‘car, or ‘toy’ then you might be just correct. As per the new study, dogs can actually understand the language you use to communicate with them. Moreover, the study also finds that they can process the word you say in the similar manner humans do, in the same region of the brain. This is for the very first time that the researchers have successfully been able to throw light on this mystery.
For the study, 12 different dog breeds were given the training to lie down on an MRI scan machine in order to study their grey matter with 2 different toys being used as training objects. One toy was a soft one while the other had a textured surface to allow differentiation. The dogs that fetched them correctly, as per the associated name of the toy, were rewarded with either praise or treats. After the dogs were successfully trained, they were laid in the scan machine and scanned when their owner said out the object’s name.
As per the study, various areas of their brain lightened up when either the exact right words to help them processor said some unfamiliar words were used during the scanning. As per Gregory Berns who serves as a neuroscientist at the Emory University, the dogs might be having varying motivation and capacity to learn as well as understand the human words. However, they do seem to possess neural representation for those words which they are taught.
Ashley Prichard, who serves as a candidate in Bern’s Psychology lab said that several dog owners tend to think their four-legged companion understands the meaning of certain words, but there was no scientific proof which supported the fact until now. But now, the researchers believe that dogs might respond to words as they want their owners to be pleased and to receive treats or praise.