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foundit66 06-26-2017 10:58 AM

Your Dog Can Tell From Your Voice If You’re Happy or Sad

The quickly emerging field of canine neuroscience has just provided evidence for something most dog owners have long known: based on the tone of your voice, it appears that dogs can tell if you're happy or sad.

Over the past few years at E​ötvös Loránd University, in Hungary, a team of researchers has been using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) technology—which tracks blood flow to various areas of the brain, a sign of increased activity—to peer inside the minds of dogs. One of a handful of labs groups worldwide that's using the technology in this way, they've used positive reinforcement training to get a study group of 11 dogs to voluntarily enter the fMRI scanner and stay perfectly still for minutes at a time, which is necessary to get accurate readings.

Recently, they've experimented with playing different sounds to the dogs while they lie in the scanner. In a new paper, published today in the journal Current Biology, they show that the dogs' brains appear to have a dedicated area that displays more activity in response to voices (whether human speech or dogs barking) than other meaningless noises (such as glass breaking), and that part of this area shows more activity upon hearing an emotionally positive sound, as compared to a negative one.

Of course, it's unclear what's exactly going on in the dogs' minds when they hear these noises, but this suggests that dogs can distinguish a happy voice from a sad one.

"It appears that there is a similar mechanism that processes social information in both dogs and humans," says Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at the university and lead author of the study. "We think this might be able to explain what makes vocal communication between the two species so effortless and successful."
Your Dog Can Tell From Your Voice If You're Happy or Sad | Science | Smithsonian

I supposed not new information for dog owners, but interesting to see it proven nonetheless...

waltky 06-26-2017 01:33 PM

Re: Your Dog Can Tell From Your Voice If You’re Happy or Sad
So can your kids.

Manitou 06-26-2017 02:38 PM

Re: Your Dog Can Tell From Your Voice If You’re Happy or Sad
If they could only figure out that when you step out the front door for a few seconds to check on the mail and come back in, you haven't been gone for years.

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