Scientists Say Your Dog Understands You

Dog people have always known that dogs understand exactly what we say. Scientists finally agree. It appears that man’s best friend possesses a mental capacity regarding human language previously unknown to science.
A 2016 study conducted by a Hungarian research team found that dogs actually understand the meanings of words spoken by their trainers and/or owners. By training the dogs to lie in a MRI machine, the researchers were able to monitor the brain activity of the dogs while they were speaking to them. It turns out that dog and human brains process language in much the same way. Although it was previously believed that one of the things that set humans apart from other animals was the neural capacity to process words, scientists now believe that the invention of words is the catalyst that sets humans apart and that the neural capacity to process language is not uniquely human.
During the study, it was discovered that dogs process words in the left hemisphere of the brain and intonation in the right hemisphere – just as humans do. The ability to understand is made possible only by the two hemispheres working together. For example, praise words said with a neutral intonation or negative words said with a positive intonation did not have the same effect as when the words and intonation match. This finding indicates that dogs possess the ability to process language as well as intonation.
Dogs have socialized with humans for thousands of years, making them uniquely attuned to human speech. While it is likely that other species possess this ability, their lack of interest in human language makes it difficult to test. Dogs by nature are pack creatures who see their humans as part of their pack. Therefore, loyalty to their pack involves pleasing and protecting, much like in a typical human family.

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