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News Link • Animals and Pets

What is your dog thinking? Brain scans unleash canine secrets in Emory study

•, by Emory University
 Many dog lovers make all kinds of inferences about how their pets feel about them, but no one has captured images of actual canine – until now.

Emory University researchers have developed a new methodology to scan the brains of alert and explore the minds of the oldest domesticated species. The technique uses harmless functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), the same tool that is unlocking secrets of the human brain.

The Public Library of Science (PLoS ONE) is publishing the results of their first experiment, showing how the brains of dogs reacted to hand signals given by their owners.

"It was amazing to see the first brain images of a fully awake, unrestrained dog," says Gregory Berns, director of the Emory Center for Neuropolicy and lead researcher of the dog project. "As far as we know, no one has been able to do this previously. We hope this opens up a whole new door for understanding canine cognition and inter-species communication. We want to understand the dog-human relationship, from the dog's perspective."

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Dennis Treybil
Entered on:

My female rescue Rat Terrier (or maybe she's a Feist like Callie) Tinkerbelle can do all that stuff standing on one foot.  Heck, she could probably do it with one paw tied behind her back.

Not really.

Still, maybe she is a Feist.  Some people call her that.  And she is very interested in squirrels.

Also, like Callie, she loves to sit up straight against me and get her chest and belly rubbed.  On that part, they could be twins separated at birth, except that Tinkerbelle is about 50% white.  But she's faster than Callie and a much sloppier kisser.  It's not easy to be careful enough around her.

Does it actually help to know the mechanics of all this?!

DC Treybil



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