Why dogs are the best

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/02/21/280640267/how-dogs-read-our-moods-emotion-detector-found-in-fidos-brain

You need me to lie still inside this noisy MRI scanner for 10 minutes? No problem. Just give me some treats. Volunteers pose with the brain scanner at the MR Research Centre in Budapest.

Photo from article

Humans detect one another’s emotional states without body language because of a piece of brain neurologists call the “voice area” that is stimulated specifically when vocal sounds are heard. The brain filters out non-vocal noises like tapping and snapping and pays attention specifically to highs, lows, and the length of what’s being processed. It is located in the back of the brain behind the ears.

Now we know that dogs have something similar, in around the same area! From the report:

  • This is the first comparative neuroimaging study of a nonprimate species and humans

  • Functional analogies were found between dog and human nonprimary auditory cortex

  • Voice areas preferring conspecific vocalizations were evidenced in the dog brain

  • Brain sensitivity to vocal cues of emotional valence was found in both species

This is why dogs know to go to you when you’re crying, and why they’re so good with babies who are very vocal. How they conducted the experiments also supports my theory that puppies are just small furry children who are just slightly more single-minded than your average 5 year old.

I didn’t need a reason, but I’m even more excited to adopt a pup of my own one day 😀

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