logo
Share SHARE
FONT-SIZE Plus   Neg

First Ever Brain Scans Of Alert, Unrestrained Dogs Unleash Canine Secrets

doginscanner-050512.jpg

Dogs are considered man's best friend. For dog lovers, just a glance at their dog can help them understand what he's thinking. But ever wondered what the actual canine thought processes are? That's what the scientists are seeking to understand, and ultimately get at questions like: Do dogs have empathy? Do they know when their owners are happy or sad? How much language do they really understand?

Researchers at Emory University have developed a new methodology to scan the brains of alert dogs. The technique that uses harmless functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or fMRI, decodes the animals' mental processes by recording which areas of their brains are activated by various stimuli.

Note that this is the first time that a brain scan is performed on fully awake and unrestrained dogs.

The aim of this study is to understand the dog-human relationship, from the dog's perspective, says Gregory Berns, director of the Emory Center for Neuropolicy and lead researcher of the dog project.

Two dogs are involved in the first phase of the project - both of which are trained to walk into an fMRI scanner and go into the scanner willingly.

In one experiment, the dogs were trained to respond to hand signals. One signal meant the dog would receive a hot dog treat, and another signal meant it would not receive one. The brain scans revealed that the caudate region of the brain, associated with rewards in humans, was activated in both dogs when they saw the signal for the treat, but not for the no-treat signal.

"These results indicate that dogs pay very close attention to human signals. And these signals may have a direct line to the dog's reward system", says Berns.

The reseachers hope that the project will open up a whole new door for understanding canine cognition and inter-species communication.

The study is published in the journal PLoS ONE.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

Business News

Editors Pick
Two major hospitals Ascension Health and Providence St. Joseph Health are in discussion for merger to create one of the largest hospital chain, reported Wall Street Journal. The combination is expected to have 191 hospitals with an annual revenue of around $45 billion. The new entity would dethrone America's largest hospital operator Hospital Corporation of America that owns 177 hospitals and reve Uber has mistakenly charged a customer in Toronto an astounding C$18,518.50 for a five-mile, 21-minute ride. In U.S. dollar terms, the amount would be more than $14,400. The five-mile ride should have only cost between C$12 and C$16. French baby formula maker Lactalis has issued a major international product recall over fears of salmonella contamination. French health authorities have ordered the dairy company to stop selling hundreds of products worldwide, after 26 infants fell ill with salmonella poisoning in France. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening mainly for young children.
comments powered by Disqus
Follow RTT