By conducting a study aimed at better understanding the appearance and development of speech in humans, researchers were able to observe that dogs process the words we address to them by prioritizing them. A similarity that they share with us.
Many scientists have studied the communication and language of dogs , as well as their interactions with humans. It has been established that our 4-legged friends are particularly sensitive to the intonation we use when talking to them. Researchers from Loránd Eötvös University , located in Budapest , Hungary, have pushed the reflection to better understand the process of speech processing on the part of domestic canines, and thereby gain a better understanding of the emergence of the word in Man.
As Futura Sciences reports, the authors of this work made a variety of dogs ( Labrador Retrievers , Border Collies and German Shepherds in particular) listen to words they knew, others they did not know, terms neutrals and compliments. These expressions were addressed to them either in a neutral tone or in a positive tone . The researchers relied on fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to assess the dogs’ reaction to these words and their brain activity .
Their conclusions, published on August 3 in the journal Nature , are edifying; according to them, the canine brain processes speech by prioritizing it , in the same way as humans .
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In practice, the dog’s brain processes intonation (as well as emotions and simple information) in the subcortical regions , while it handles more complex information , in this case the known words, at different levels. upper levels (cortical regions). Similarities with the man that Attila Andics , co-author of the study, describes as “ fascinating ”, because displayed by “ a species not endowed with speech ”.
Which leads the researchers to think that this work of prioritization by the brain is probably not linked to an evolution serving the specific processing of speech , but rather the processing of information in general.