Dogs use same brain part to process words as humans, say Hungarian researchers
Hungarian researchers have found that dogs use the same part of their brain as humans to process words, according to a study published in Science magazine.
The research team led by Attila Andics at the Budapest ELTE University's Comparative Ethology Department is the first to study how the brain of dogs processes human speech.
Not only do dogs register speech but it matters how it is said, according to Andics.
Like people, dogs use the left brain hemisphere to process words and the right hemisphere to process intonation. Praise activates the reward centre only when both words and intonation match, the study found.
"It shows that for dogs ... praise can very well work as a reward, but it works best if both words and intonation match ... this is very similar to what human brains do," Andics et al said in a press release.
The findings suggest that dogs' ability to process language evolved earlier than previously thought.
"The results can also help to make communication and cooperation between dogs and humans even more efficient," the press release added.