Scientists: Dogs Understand What We Say And How We Say It


Scientists have proven that dogs understand what we say, even how it’s being said.

Dogs understand what we say in the same manners as humans do. The scientific study which was published in the Journal Science shows that they use the left hemisphere of their brain to make sense of the meaning of words and the right side to understand what an added intonation or emphasis means.

“We humans love talking to dogs, we call them by names, praise them, scold them but quite little is known about how dogs interpret out words,” said lead researcher Dr Attila Andics of the department of ethology at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary.

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Every statement made on the ability of dogs to understand what a person is saying and how it’s been said was previously based on sentiments. However, this team of scientists decided to test it out, by focusing on a dog’s brain through the use of an MRI scanner.

Dr Attila said:

“Many people would propose dogs might care about how we intonate but what we say might not be so important to them. We decided to look into the brain. We trained the dogs to lie motionless. We let them listen to their trainers’ speech. Dogs sometimes heard praise words and other on occasions they hear praise words in a non-praising intonation. We tested for brain regions that respond differently for words.” 

Dogs lie on an MRI scanner 

13 dogs were experimented on, and the result of the experiment showed that dogs have empathy. They particularly preferred to use the left hemisphere to process words that have meaning, and the right for intonations. It also showed that the mechanism used in processing words and their meaning, especially based on intonation was in fact similar to that of humans.

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“The results showed something very interesting. Dogs do care about what we say and how we say it, and the mechanism is very similar to that of humans. Dogs can also tell apart word meaning and word intonation.”

So, dogs have scientifically earned their right to be called ‘man’s best friend’.