Dogs understand everything they’re told, Science says

A team of scientists have finally come to discover what for so long, many people who have dogs as pets had suspected: the furry eventually come to understand everything they are being told. They have the ability to get to interpret the speech of humans.

Dogs understand everything they’re told, Science says

Dogs are smarter than we thought

The study was conducted by focusing on the brains of canines when it came to interrelating with people. And after several analyses with different methods, they were left with no doubt: man’s best friend trains from puppy to learning to interpret the words of his master, especially guided by tone and intent. What they first learn is to identify when they are congratulated, since they love it.

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In the case of a human being, the brain in order to interpret the language, needs to use three specific areas: the left hemisphere, whose function is to store meanings and concepts; but in law, the interlocutor’s tone, the emotional part, is interpreted. In this way we can find the reason and the intention of the conversation. However, it has now been discovered that this is not just a capacity of people.

Scholars of this research showed that the same mechanism is in canines. They can differentiate words, give them meaning, and base their meaning on intonation. One of the main scientists in this group is Dr. Attila Andics, director of the Comparative Ethology research group at the University of Budapest in Hungary. It adds, that quite possibly this happens the same with some other non-primate mammals.

Another of the most important scientists in this study is Dr. Sinc Anna Gábor, who says that:

 “Dogs can learn the words that are important to them and often used by their owners to address them. The words to congratulate them are an example.”

Never in history, officially, has an in-depth study of neural processes in dogs, specifically with speech interpretation, been conducted. However, several scientists had already exposed this wonderful canine ability to perceive the components of language.

 “But until now we didn’t know much about the brain mechanisms of dogs and that these were similar to those of the human to understand the words. It remains to be documented how these animals separate and integrate lexical and intonation information into spoken words,” says Gábor.

Better understand congratulations

To perform all relevant tests, 13 dogs were needed that were immobilized in order to perform an MRI of the brain. With the latest technology devices,they managed to see all the brain activity in detail of the hairy, hearing the voice of their master, doing tests of various shades, both imperative, congratulatory or neutral.

When searching for regions of the brain that differentiated words with meaning and those that did not, and congratulatory or neutral intonations, scientists realized that dogs prefer to use their left hemisphereto process words and that they brain activations were independent of intonation, which is activated in the right hemisphere.

Some areas of the brain were activated before the reward system of the animal and in those regions, all kinds of pleasant stimuli such as the pleasure of eating, sexuality, being caressed or congratulated are also processed. Dr. Andics notes that:

“Dogs combine both for a proper interpretation of speech and what those words really mean. Again, the process is very similar to that of humans,” says Andics.

For scientists, this work not only improves communication and cooperation between dogs and humans, but also sheds light on the appearance of words during the evolution of language. “What actually makes words unique in humans is not our special neural ability, but our ingenuity to invent and use them,” says the lead author.

The team of Hungarian scientists has ensured that the evolution of the neural mechanisms of dogs advanced to giant steps, from the moment of domestication. But they did conclude that:

“Human beings are only unique in their ability to invent words.”


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