Several animals are known to pick human sounds and speeches but it has turned out that dogs are particularly good at doing so. Dogs are known to interact with humans more than any other animal and a new research has found that dogs pay attention to human chit-chat.
The researchers used 18 family dogs, including collies, Kun-kun and Odin, who had come from Mexico. The canines were familiar with either Hungarian or Spanish and not both the languages.
These dogs were also trained to lie still in an fMRI machine. The researchers also used a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and the dogs heard passages from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince in either Spanish or Hungarian.
Journal NeuroImage published the findings. The study showed that the dogs’ brains showed a different activity pattern in the primary auditory cortex for speech compared with non-speech.
Senior author of the study Dr Attila Andics (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary), states that the capacities to process speech and languages are not necessarily unique in all the ways that one thinks.
The researchers found that the longer the canine’s head was, the better their brain could distinguish speech from non-speech. They also found that the activity pattern was stronger for non-speech. Andics was quoted as saying that a different mechanism is at play in dogs and they are not “tuned in” to speech. He said that the animals would detect natural speech sounds natural and the other one sounds surprising, strange, not the typical pattern that the humans hear.