Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponcomment this pageEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInDigg thisShare on Tumblrfark this page

Dogs can understand what we’re saying, this is according to a new study on dog vocabulary, titled Neural mechanisms for lexical processing in dogs, recently published in the journal Science. Of course, any dog owner will know this already, but now science has confirmed it. With humans, words are the basic building blocks of our different languages, but they are very rarely found in nonhuman vocal communications. But not so with dogs.

For the dog vocabulary study scientists in Hungary trained 13 dogs to lie still in a MRI scanner so they could monitor their brain activity when they were spoken to by their trainers. Phrases and words like “well done!,” “however,” and “good boy” were said in cheery, praising tones or in a neutral voice.

They found that, much like how our own brains interpret language, the right side of the brain processes emotion while the left side deals with meaning. So, if the tone of voice is matched to the words, canines are able to understand human speech and form their own dog vocabulary. Or some of it anyway.

Lexical Processing Shows A Unique Dog Vocabulary

It has always been commonly thought that dogs can understand tone (as the video above demonstrates), so you could be saying something negative but if said in a happy intonation they would think it praise. But the lexical processing study shows that using the right words combined with the right intonation causes both hemispheres of dogs’ brains to light up, showing they understand both meaning and tone.

The head researcher of the study, Dr Attila Andics of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, said about dog vocabulary, “During speech processing, there is a well-known distribution of labor in the human brain. It is mainly the left hemisphere’s job to process word meaning, and the right hemisphere’s job to process intonation. The human brain not only separately analyses what we say and how we say it, but also integrates the two types of information, to arrive at a unified meaning.”

Continuing, “Our findings suggest that dogs can also do all that, and they use very similar brain mechanisms. It shows that for dogs, a nice praise can very well work as a reward, but it works best if both words and intonation match. So dogs not only tell apart what we say and how we say it, but they can also combine the two, for a correct interpretation of what those words really meant. This is very similar to what human brains do.”

Hungarian Dogs Whose Brain Activity Was Scanned

Lexical Processing Dog Vocabulary Study 01.Image: Eniko Kubinyi

 

Lexical Processing Dog Vocabulary Study 02.Image: Eniko Kubinyi

 

Lexical Processing Dog Vocabulary Study 03.Image: Eniko Kubinyi

 

Lexical Processing Dog Vocabulary Study 04.Image: Eniko Kubinyi

 

Lexical Processing Dog Vocabulary Study 05.Image: Eniko Kubinyi

 

Lexical Processing Dog Vocabulary Study 06.Image: Eniko Kubinyi

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponcomment this pageEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInDigg thisShare on Tumblrfark this page
Loading...
sports

When it comes to role models for sports-loving young girls, professional boxer Alicia Napoleon is certainly up there. Known as ‘The Empress’ she comes from New York…

culture

Belgium artist Vincent Bal has a thing for everyday objects and the shadows they cast, he creates awesome doodles out of the scenes that the object’s shadows…

animals

Veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward knows about dogs, and he knows about hot cars. As many pet owners know, locking dogs in a hot car is something that…

sports

The Italian supercar company has revealed their latest GT racing car, the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo. The Italian racer, which will take to the circuits in…

culture

Artist and photographer John Poppleton uses the human form as his canvas working with blacklight body paint, but what he creates is unlike any body painting you’ve…

humor

Phil Jupitus finds out the hard way that being a parent is no easy ride and things get especially challenging when the kids become teenagers, especially when…

Loading...
culture

Tiny tattoos prove that small can be beautiful and that’s definitely the case for these tiny tattoo designs by South Korean tattooist Witty Button that are minimalist…

culture

Arm yourself with these factslides (or random facts if you have no idea what that means) and the next time you’re out down the local bar or…

animals

Instead of celebrating who’s a good boy, ugly dogs are the winners at the Sonoma Marin Fair which hosts the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. It’s an annual…

futurism

Subdermal implant technology is very quickly becoming a reality as people see the advantages of a microchip implant to enhance their daily life and routines. Not so…

animation

The famous Apollo moon landing of 1969 was actually set in motion eight years earlier, when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to journey into space,…

culture

While the Internet is a beneficial platform most of the time, it also has an ugly side when it comes to social media conspiracies. It plays a…