Dogs can pick up on human emotions through tone of voice, new brain imaging study says

Many dog lovers say that their dogs know exactly what they’re thinking and feeling, and now they have some research to back that up. Apparently, dogs can sense what we’re feeling through picking up on the changes in tone of voice, according to a new brain imaging study, PBS reports .

It’s no easy task to scan the brains of animals, though – researchers usually have to anesthetize them to keep them calm, PBS says . But dogs can be trained, and researchers did just that.

Attila Andics of MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Budapest trained 11 border collies and golden retrievers to stay calm in an MRI machine while they mapped the dogs’ responses to 200 different sounds, according to PBS . The researchers then compared the dog’s brain responses to human brains.

Andics says other mammals could have a similar system because being able to pick up on emotional cues through changes in vocal tones would be a beneficial trait.

To read PBS’s full story, click here

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