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Dogs recognize words like little children

Science has long known that dogs can rememberwords and their meaning, you yourself have noticed such an ability. However, the canine brain does not pick up the nuances of the sound of words. Therefore, he does not distinguish between words similar in sound, for example, “lie down” and “run”. But this does not mean that they are let down by hearing. They hear all sounds well, but the brain does not process the information received so well to distinguish it, in other words, the cognitive functions are not enough for dogs to focus on the features of the sounds. Moreover, we know that dogs understand words when we emphasize them, that is, we address the dog and clearly pronounce any one word, for example, the command “sit” or “lie down”. But what about recognizing words in a stream of speech? This question was asked by the University of Budapest staff, who have been studying the cognitive characteristics of dogs for a long time. The result of their research was quite amazing.

Scientists have found that dogs recognize words as well as humans

How the human brain distinguishes between words

Words represent certain combinationsspeech sounds. That is, in these combinations, sounds are more common than in others. Of course, there are a lot of words, but by evaluating the combinations of sounds and comparing them with information in memory, you can recognize familiar words. According to this principle, our brain distinguishes between words - it divides the entire stream of speech into separate syllables, which it subsequently analyzes. This ability appears in a person from the eighth month of life.

It was previously known that dogs can recognize single words. New research has evaluated their ability to identify sounds and words from speech flow.

Previous research has shown that dogs understand not only certain words, but also the intonation with which they are pronounced.

How does the word recognition mechanism work in a dog?was not previously known. Accordingly, science did not know if dogs could recognize words in a stream of speech. To find out, scientists at the University of Budapest began to monitor the activity of the dog's brain at the moment when various words were pronounced, among which were those that the dog knew well.

Dogs recognize human words in two regions of the brain

In an article that was published in the journalCurrent Biology, it is said that the electroencephalogram in the process of research recorded different reactions of the brain of dogs to different words - those that they hear often, and those that they are unfamiliar with. What's more, the researchers note that dogs reacted differently to different syllables. Their brains produce sounds that are often paired with each other, even if the word itself is unfamiliar to them. Thus, it became clear that dogs recognize not only words as a whole, but also syllables.

Research has shown that dogs recognize not only familiar words, but also familiar sound combinations.

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)Also, scientists managed to find out that when recognizing words in dogs, two parts of the brain are involved - this is the area of ​​the basal ganglia, as well as the auditory area of ​​the cerebral cortex. Moreover, the activity of parts of the brain changed, depending on the characteristics of the speech that the dogs heard. If the speech was slurred, in which it was almost impossible to make out a single word, the basal ganglia worked most actively. If speech was clear, then the auditory cortex became more active.

Scientists managed to find out that the scheme of the brain indogs at recognizing words are similar to humans. But, since dogs do not pay attention to the nuances of sound, their ability to recognize words is similar to that of a nursery.

Scientists could theoretically develop a breed of dog that will better understand speech

Will dogs be taught to better recognize human speech?

Despite the fact that scientists have managed to better understandhow the word recognition mechanism works in dogs, the authors of the work still have many questions. In particular, it is not clear when the ability to recognize words appeared - was it originally, since the days of wild dingo dogs, or did it appear as a result of the long-term residence of these animals among people?

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But, anyway, now we know thatthe neural apparatus responsible for recognizing words is not unique to humans. In theory, it would even be possible to breed breeds for which this apparatus worked more efficiently than others. Thus, dogs would appear that understand human speech well. Perhaps they would have been better trained. But even without this, our four-legged friends never cease to amaze us. Not so long ago, I talked about how dogs are able to distinguish deliberate actions committed in relation to them, from accidental, that is, committed unintentionally.