The Canine Brain Scan – A New Study

Do you believe in experimentation on dogs? Well you might just like this type, read on to learn about a very different type of canine brain scan.

Over the last few years and with the use of positive reinforcement, increasing the use of shaping and conditioning within dog behaviour, we have seen a few new experiment types on canine brain activity. These experiments involve highly complicated brain scanning equipment, healthy dogs and food rewards. We are learning, with the aid of patience some treats and lots of long training hours, how the dog’s brain reacts to things when he is awake and alert.

Whilst we are teaching dogs to lie still we are also making a certain type of experimentation possible. The canine brain scan of an alert, awake and naturally functioning dog. We can see which areas of a dog’s brain respond to stimuli, which is a massive advancement towards learning what makes our dog tick.

How Dogs Love Us – Gregory Berns

Dogs are being taught, in a few different geographical areas, to lie completely still for brain scans. This brings us the opportunity to see the actions within a dog’s brain whilst he is in an alert, awake state. The book how dogs love us, Berns G, talks about how one of these experiments took place in great detail, inclusive of volunteers, their dogs and a vast array of hot dog sausages. Berns finishes up by telling us that our dog’s focus is constantly, unwaveringly on the person with that they share a bond.

Voice Areas in the Dogs Brain

One of the most fascinating findings in experimentation of this type was carried out by Andics A, and his team. The experiment compared a dog’s brain with the human brain at exactly the same time in order to measure activity in response to sound, more accurately voices and communication attempts.

The findings, the result of much practice, were that both human and canine brains have dedicated ‘voice areas’. That dogs in almost exactly the same process use voice cues, and even the tone of emotion to observe the parallel brain areas.

The same brain areas in human and dogs were activated by listening to over 200 sounds. The dog’s brain areas showed more activity when listening to dogs and the human brain when listening to the sound of human voices, yet the responses to sound were strikingly similar and in the same brain area for both.

The differences in response were as a whole limited to non-vocal, non-communication sounds where the dog’s brain showed activity up to 48% of all sound-sensitive brain regions respond more strongly to non-vocal sounds. 3% of the human brain showed activity at the sound of non-vocal, non-communication sounds. It is thought at this point that the shared brain activity is a result of the mutual brain capacity that our species’ once shared pre evolution into separate species.

We believe that such progress brings us closer to knowing exactly what the emotional life of our dogs is like. Better still, because it is positive behaviour experimentation, the dogs love the games too.