Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary have shown that dogs’ brains light up more when they hear human or canine voices than when they hear other noises.
They were able to check out the canine mind with fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging). When blood flow increases in areas of the brain, it’s a sign of increased activity.
“The very exciting finding is that in both the human brain and the dog brain, these ‘voice areas’ are located in very similar places,” says Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at the university and lead author of the study in Current Biology. “We think this might be able to explain what makes vocal communication between the two species so effortless and successful.”
The coolest part of the study is that when dogs listened to happy sounds (laughter, a dog greeting his master), activity increased in areas of the canine brain consistently. “The more positive the voice, the stronger the response” in the auditory cortex, Andics says.