General, Research, Technology

How do dogs understand human language?

Many dog ​​owners believe that their petsPets perfectly understand the words they say. Indeed, most animals instantly respond to their names and execute various commands. Skeptics probably think that these are just coincidences or just habits of pets, but no - there is scientific evidence that dogs understand human speech. Once, Hungarian scientists conducted an experiment in which they spoke different words to dogs and monitored the activity of different parts of their brain. It turned out that they perceive the spoken words and intonations in almost the same way as we do. According to them, in order to learn to talk with dogs, an important rule must be observed - the words must be familiar to the animal and pronounced with a pronounced intonation. But why?

Dogs understand our speech and this is proven by science

Human tongue and dogs

How dogs understand human languagetold the Independent. As part of the scientific work, Hungarian scientists trained 13 dogs to lie motionless inside an apparatus for conducting magnetic resonance imaging. With this medical equipment, researchers can monitor the active brain without surgery. During a brain scan, the dogs were told three kinds of words:

  • encouraging words like “good boy” and “well done” with praising intonation;
  • encouraging words with neutral intonation;
  • words that had no meaning for dogs: "however", "if" and so on with different intonations.

Scanning showed that when dogs hearfamiliar words like "good boy", they activate the left hemisphere of the brain. When they hear a laudatory intonation, their right hemisphere is activated - no reaction was noticed to a neutral tone of voice. The dogs' brains were most active when the researchers spoke encouraging words with praising intonation. In particular, in animals, the pleasure center was turned on, which is also active when receiving affection and tasty treats.

Researchers and the good boys at the MRI machine

The human brain works the same way, the researchers say:

Basically, the work of the left hemisphere of the humanthe brain is to process the meaning of a word, and the work of the right hemisphere is to process intonation. The brain combines these two types of information and understands what is at stake, they explained.

Stress in dogs

It turns out that our pets are greatunderstand when we praise them. Only now the question arises - do they understand when they have done something wrong and the person scolds them for it? Hungarian scientists have not studied this issue, but a group of scientists from Portugal recently conducted a study on a similar topic. As part of an experiment involving 92 dogs - some of them were taken from schools, in which animals are scolded for not following commands. The second group of animals trained by rewarding success. So, individuals who were often scolded experienced more stress than those who were rewarded for success. It turns out that dogs still understand when they are being scolded. Isn't it scientific proof?

See also: Is a dog a man’s best friend, or is he just pretending to be?

With all this, scientists do not know exactly how muchmany words are familiar to dogs. This is probably individual for each individual - if the owners regularly praise the pet and show their benevolence by their actions, the dog will know more words. The same rule should be true in the case of swearing at pets, but it is better not to yell at them - in the framework of the aforementioned study, it was found that stress changes the behavior of dogs for the worse.

Scientifically proven that dogs are able to experience stress that affects their behavior

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Generally, research on understandingbetween dogs and people are conducted regularly. At the end of 2019, I told you about the scientific work on the topic of which people better understand the emotions of their pets. As it turned out, people of any gender and age can recognize the joyful and angry mood of animals. However, only adults are capable of capturing the more subtle coloring of the mood of dogs - alas, children cannot. In my opinion, this is a very interesting study that reveals a lot of interesting things about the relationship between humans and animals, so I recommend that you familiarize yourself with its results right now.