Study Suggests Dogs Can Understand Some Human Speech

Tuesday, 30 August 2016 - 6:30PM
Tuesday, 30 August 2016 - 6:30PM
Study Suggests Dogs Can Understand Some Human Speech
You might want to watch what you say around your dog... it turns out he might be able to understand you.

According to a new study conducted at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, our canine friends have the ability to understand some human speech. Attila Andics and her team trained a group of dogs to lie on an MRI scanner, where they could have their brains scanned. The dogs were then told several words by a person, some nonsense words and some words they were familiar with, in several different intonations. The study found that the dogs only recognized the familiar words with their corresponding intonations. For example, they would ignore nonsense words spoken with a happy inflection, but if something like "Good boy" were said with a happy tone, the reward center of their brains would register it.

"Dog brains care about both what we say and how we say it," Andics says. "Praise can work as a reward only if both word meaning and intonation match." The scientist theorizes that other animals likely have some understanding of our language, too, but given dogs long social history with humans, they are the easiest to test.

So be careful what you say around your dog, lest you be judged.


Science
Science News