- New resarch from Hungary is stating that dogs are capable of not only understanding human speech but also intonation
- And by combining the information they gathered from the intonation and words they heard dogs can make a conclusion
- This is an incredible skill for a species that never learned to speak
Researchers from Hungary have learned that dogs are very good at telling when they are being lied to.
Dogs are not only capable of discerning different words but are also able to understand the intonation that the words were said with.
Just like in humans the left hemisphere of a dog’s brain is used to process words, and the right is used to process intonation. Just like our brains, the brains of dogs connect these two pieces of information and make a conclusion.
“Our findings suggest that dogs can also do all that, and they use very similar brain mechanisms,” said Attila Andics, lead researcher in the study.
To conduct the study the team of researchers taught 13 dogs to lie still in an fMRI brain scanner. The dog’s trainer then would tell the dog something in 3 different intonations: in a praising manner, with neutral manner and with random words. By researching the brain scans of the dogs the scientists came to the conclusion that the brain of the dog is capable of differentiating between meaningful and meaningless words and between intonations!
When the intonation was praising the part of the brain that responds to pleasurable stimuli such as food and sex was activated in the dog’s brain. This part of the brain only became stimulated when the dog heard words in a praising intonation.
"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. 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," noted Atilla Andics.
The researchers came to the conclusion that dogs are probably capable of comprehending language, which is incredible for a species that never learned to talk.