Faces and Emotions – Where dog and human brain function in much the same way

Researchers have already noticed that there is a special connection between dog and human being in the past. Oxytocin, a hormone, ensures the loving coexistence of two-and four-legged friends. Now, however, the research goes a step further and examines the dog brain on skills that usually have only humans or even monkeys. The amazing result: There are parallels between the canine and human brain. The processing of certain stimuli occurs sometimes even in the same regions of the brain. One more reason to rethink the sentence "It's just a dog," completely.

A fine sense of emotions

Hungarian researchers have discovered that there are special regions in the dog's brain with which language can be processed. Here is a commonality with the human brain, because even with us, the spoken word is not only checked for information content, but also on emotions. It goes without saying that dogs do not understand every word. But they are able to understand the emotional message behind the language. However, researchers and dogs had to do a lot to get to that conclusion. Eleven dogs were trained to stay still in a magnetic resonance scanner while the device was scanning them. To reach a meaningful comparison, 22 people were examined on MRI during the test.

In the MRT itself, dogs and humans were then played different sounds. Including ordinary sounds from everyday life, barking and even human weeping or laughing. The evaluation showed that the dogs and humans responded most strongly to the sounds of their respective conspecifics. Interestingly, however, about thirteen percent of the regions in the dog's brain responded particularly strongly to human sounds, and about ten percent of the regions in the human brain reacted to dog lice. So both species seem to be very much in tune with each other.

It was also clear that the regions within the brain are in a similar position in dogs and humans. Also, the emotional message, whether human or dog, both processed brains in a very similar way. The dogs' brains responded much more intensely to the laughter of a human than to crying. This helps dogs to properly understand the emotional content of sounds. It is therefore quite a bit off, if some dog owner attests to his four-legged friend a good feeling for feelings.

The results of this study now suggest that a common ancestor of man and dog existed about 100 million years ago. This would explain the similarity of brain structures.