the Study, researchers from the University of Budapest (Hungary) showed that a dog’s brain as the human brain uses a hierarchical approach to speech processing: in response to basic emotions activated regions of the brain, and words – more developed region of the cerebral cortex. The work is published in Scientific Reports.
using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fМРТ) team Anna Gabor measured brain activity in dogs during wakefulness. Confirmed the old observation that dog shares the tone and meaning of the words. This means, in processing the meanings of words and the emotional tone involved in different areas of the brain. That is, the words and the tone with which we address their Pets – all dogs understand.
However, still remained an open question whether the brain processes of dog two components of language are hierarchically (similar to human)?
“the Study of similarities and differences in the speech processing canine and human brain can help in understanding what contributed to the development of language in the course of evolution,” said Anna Gabor, lead author of the work.
the Evolutionary base region of the brain fix the emotional component information (intonation), while the meaning of the word is processed at a higher cerebral level of the hierarchy.
to understand whether a dog’s brain a hierarchical approach to speech processing, scientists have conducted experiments with dogs that used to lie quietly in a magnetic resonance tomograph. During fМРТ recording of a dog listening to a known praise (“good”, “good boy”, etc.) and unknown words (laudatory and neutral intonation).
the results of the scan showed that a dog’s brain reacts to the speech processing hierarchy: intonation activates subcortical region, while known words are processed in the cortical areas.
“Although the processing of human speech is unique in many aspects, this study shows interesting similarities between us and dogs – sums up Attila Andiks, co-author of the work. – However, this does not mean that evolutionary hierarchical method was introduced specifically to work with the language. This approach may reflect a more General, language-independent treatment principle: fundamental, emotionally charged cues, such as intonation, are usually analysed at lower levels. While complex information such as the meaning of words, analyzed at higher levels”.