Science: Dog Brains Can Distinguish Between Languages, Study Finds

For the first time in the world, ethologists from ELTE (Eötvös Loránd University) in Hungary have shown that a non-human brain, in this case that of a dog, is capable of distinguishing between two languages. The results were published by researchers in the journal NeuroImage.

“We know that humans can distinguish between Languages from an early age, but can children dogs do that? “, Laura V. Cuaya, first author of the article, who came to study in Hungary from Mexico together with her dog Kun-Kun, used in the study with 17 others dogs.

“All the dogs were trained to stand still on the MRI during the exam, and each heard only one idiom of its owner throughout his life: Hungarian or Spanish, to compare his brain responses to a known and unknown language. Furthermore, by cutting and mixing the fragments into very short portions, we also produce unnatural stimuli. These stimuli were used to see if the dogs they recognize the difference between speech and not between speech. “

They perceive the naturalness of sound stimuli

The researchers found that the pattern of brain responses to speech and non-speech in the dogs differed in the primary auditory cortex, regardless of whether the stimuli were from a idiom known or unknown. However, no evidence was found that the brain of the dog favored speech over non-speech.

“The brain of dogLike humans, it is capable of separating speech from non-speech. However, the mechanism for perceiving similarity to speech may be different from that of humans: while the human brain pays special attention to speech, the brain of dogs presumably he simply perceives the naturalness of the sound stimuli “, explains Raúl Hernández-Pérez, co-author of the article.

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In another area of ​​the brain, the secondary auditory cortex, they found different patterns in brain responses to the two languages. Also, the older a dogthe better his brain could separate the two languages. “Each language has its own phonetic characteristics. Our results suggest that the dogs they learn more and more about their owner’s language during their lifetime, “continues Hernández-Pérez.

“This discovery is exciting because it shows that it is not only man who can explain the auditory characteristics of languages. However, we still do not know whether only human dogs or other species can do it all. Did brain changes over tens of thousands of years around humans help humans dogs to listen to speech with smarter ears today? More experiments are needed to answer this, “concluded Attila Andics, head of the Momentum MTA-ELTE Neuroethology Research Group.

(With information from Europa Press)

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