Scientist Says New Research Proves 'Dogs Are People Too'the daily dish
Do you ever think that your dog knows exactly how you feel? It probably does. According to the Daily Mail U.K., Gregory Berns, a professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University, has discovered that dogs have emotions just like humans.
Through the use of MRI scans, Berns discovered that dogs and humans use the same part of their brains to feel. The professor started his research hoping to find out how a dog's brain works and what the animals think of humans.
In veterinary practices, dogs are put under an anesthetic to obtain an MRI so they don't become stressed by the procedure. For Berns' work, he needed his dog patients to be alert so he could observe their true brain functions. To overcome this obstacle, Berns and a dog trainer worked to teach the professor's dog to sit through an MRI simulator. After months of training and work with a real MRI machine, Berns and his dog were able to get the first maps of canine brain activity.
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These maps showed Berns that dogs use their caudate nucleus, a part of the brain between the brain stem and the cortex, in a similar way to humans. The caudate has a large number of dopamine receptors that increase in both dogs and humans in response to a highly anticipated moment. In dogs, caduate activity increased when they smelled a familiar human, or when their owners reappeared after leaving the room.
"Do these findings prove that dogs love us? Not quite. But many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate," Berns said.
Showing positive feelings like love and attachment could mean that dogs are as sentient as a human child. Berns hope to further these new findings and use them to expanding the rights of animals.
PETS GROWING UP WITH THEIR OWNERS: