A new study in Britain suggests that dogs in a very sophisticated and in a human-like manner listen to their owners when they talk to them.
This study, done by researchers of the University of Sussex, provided strong evidence to the fact that dogs can respond to diverse parts of human speech. To understand this aspect, the researchers generated more insight into the working of the canine brain.
They found that dogs appeared to be capable of processing multiple parts of human speech simultaneously by making use of the different parts of their brain to process the verbal components and the emotion or intonation of the speaker.
Study leader Victoria Ratcliffe said it is very quick to point out the real picture and this research doesn’t mean that dogs in literal teams actually understand what their owners are saying. The findings of this research strongly suggest that dogs may dissociate, separate and process speech components in a way that is broadly comparable to humans.
This is so as the brains of dogs bear a passing resemblance to humans. When a dog hears a sound it’s familiar with, the sound is processed in the left hemisphere. During this experiment, dogs turned their head to the right, which is a strong indicator that their left hemispheres are activating.
For this study, the researchers manipulated many sounds some of which were stripped of the qualities of the human voice. Some of these were to emphasize the meaning of words, while at other times the emotional tone was exaggerated.
Researcher David Reby said, “This is particularly interesting because our results suggest that the processing of speech components in the dog’s brain is divided between the two hemispheres in a way that is actually very similar to the way it is separated in the human brain”.