Dogs Understand Your Words And Intonation Just Like Humans

Posted: Aug 30 2016, 8:36am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 30 2016, 9:58pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Dogs Understand Your Words and Intonation Just Like Humans
Reasher Anna Gabor talks to Baraxk, one of the dogs that participated in the study that appeared in the Sept. 2, 2016, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by A. Andics at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, and colleagues was titled, "Neural mechanisms for lexical processing in dogs." CREDIT: VILJA AND VANDA MOLNÁR
  • Brain Scans Show Dogs Understand What You're Saying and How You Say It.

Dogs are not dumb! They can pick up signals regarding quite a list of vocabulary words and intonations in human speech. All that is required is human-canine interaction.

Some parts of the canines’ brains resemble that of human beings. This could be the only reason why these dogs can understand their masters’ commands so well. A dog is after all a man’s best friend. 

While up until now it had been supposed that vocabulary was a strictly human attribute, now it seems that several animal species show the ability to recognize many words.

The rise of language in human beings may have been through onomatopoeia. Yet this language instinct is so old that it merges in with the vocal calls of other species.

Phonics and semantics are inextricably entangled in the web of words that is language. While words are the building blocks of language, tone of voice is another great hint towards what a sentence means. Humans pick up linguistic signals through both vocabulary and intonation.  

Whether dogs employ the same means of recognizing orders that their masters shout at them remained a mystery. That is up until now. The trainers spoke to the dogs in the study in a series of positive and neutral ways.

There was pure praise, then neutral words with intonation that was praising, praising words that were coupled with neutral intonation and finally neutral words with neutral intonation. MRI scans of the canines’ brains were gathered at the same time.

The results showed that irrespective of intonation, dogs recognized the words as praising syllables or neutral lexemes. They even processed these words in the left hemispheres of their brains as many human beings do. 

Dogs tend to recognize intonation in a different module from the speech center. This lay in the auditory region in the right hemisphere of the brain. This came as somewhat of a surprise.

Finally, the researchers found that in actuality the canines did take intonation into consideration along with the vocabulary. Yet it played a minor role when compared to separate words which were recognized in a matter of seconds.

Thus the evolution of canines must have led to the development of their brains as helpers of man in his struggles with the environment.

While these canines picked up quite a few words along the way, the fact remains that human beings are the only species to invent words and the language structure that goes along with them

The findings of this study will appear in the 2 September issue of the journal Science.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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