Dog owners must have thought at least oncethat their pets understand the meaning of certain words. There is a high probability that these conjectures were true - a study by scientists from Emory University proved that dogs can associate words with certain objects. The results are published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. In the process, scientists discovered an unexpected feature of canine thinking.
The experiment involved 12 dogs of different breeds,trained to sit motionless inside the tomographic apparatus. The owners of the “good boys” were given the task of teaching them to bring different objects within a few months, hearing their names. To make it easier for dogs to distinguish objects, one of them was soft and the other hard. When the dog brought the right item, they gave it a treat. The owners were also given the additional task of pronouncing nonexistent words and showing objects previously not seen by the pets.
After months, the dogs were placed on tomographyapparatus to study their brain activity in the form of various kinds of objects. The study yielded several interesting results. Firstly, dogs really understand previously learned words - this is referred to by indicators of brain activity. Secondly, they almost instantly recognize unknown words - their brain activity increases significantly. Thirdly, in different breeds of dogs different parts of the brain are activated.
Researchers were surprised at the second result,because in humans everything happens the other way around - the human brain actively responds only to familiar words, and relates to strangers more calmly. It is believed that dogs pay more attention to unfamiliar words because of a desire to please the owner or receive treats.
Scientists study dog thinking with interest, howeversome of them believe that they are smart, while others do not. For example, recent studies have shown that dogs have feelings, but at the same time, scientists from the University of Exeter and the University of Canterbury have announced that four-legged friends are not as smart as they seem.
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