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Dogs 'detect emotions like humans'

Tuesday February 25th 2014

Research is shedding new light on why there is such a huge bond between people and their dogs.

Scientists in Hungary have found that humans and canines respond to voices and sounds in a similar way with the same area of the brain.

The findings, revealed in the Current Biology journal, show how similar the brains of the two species react to human commands and canine whines and even in recognising sounds that reveal emotions. Dogs and humans both use a part of the brain near the primary auditory cortex when they hear happy noises.

Dogs were trained to lie still in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scanner and their responses to sounds were compared with those of humans, such as whining, barking, crying and laughing.

It is often said that dogs are man's best friend and the study could finally be pinpointing the reason why. Owners can make sure they can afford the best veterinary care for their beloved dogs by arranging Pet Insurance.

Attila Andics, lead scientist at the MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Hungary, said both species share similar social surroundings and use their brains in similar ways to make sense of them. It could be why vocal communication between dog owners and their pets works is so effective.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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