Humans with pets in their daily lives often tend to believe that the latter are comparable to little humans who understand what they say. Is this how reality goes? A new study has attempted to figure out as to how do dogs respond to human sounds.
The human brain is wired to hear the sounds made by other fellow humans when the latter are talking such that we understand the words, and at the same time, able to pick up sounds that convey emotions and information about gender. Both hemispheres of the brain work in synchrony to deal with the different tasks. Dogs are known to have the same type of brain responses reacting to the sounds of other dogs. The question asked by the scientists is whether they have the same connection with human sounds.
Therefore, to test the hypothesis, scientists made dogs sit in front of two speakers. They plated a recorded short sentence, and made the dogs hear the words to watch their responses. The short sentence included a command that said: “come on, then”. The researchers then watched which way the dogs turned. It was found that the animals turned to the right when the individual words were greatly emphasised, while they turned to the left when they heard recordings with exaggerated intonations. The former reaction indicates that their left hemispheres were involved, while the latter response suggests that the right hemisphere was involved. These observations seem to show that dogs might be processing the elements of speech in a similar way to how humans.
Furthermore, the researchers stated that dogs are able to differentiate between meaningful and meaningless sound sequences. Not only that, but they can also determine the emotions that are embedded in the sounds.
The authors of the study also included a tip to dog owners as to how to interact with them:
“Tell all the emotional things to the dog in his left ear. For commands that you want a dog to get clearly and precisely, tell them in right ear.”