Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human and dog brains both have dedicated 'voice areas'

Date:
February 20, 2014
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
The first study to compare brain function between humans and any non-primate animal shows that dogs have dedicated voice areas in their brains, just as people do. Dog brains, like those of people, are also sensitive to acoustic cues of emotion, according to a new study.

These are dogs at the MR Research Centre (Budapest).
Credit: Borbala Ferenczy

The first study to compare brain function between humans and any nonprimate animal shows that dogs have dedicated voice areas in their brains, just as people do. Dog brains, like those of people, are also sensitive to acoustic cues of emotion, according to a study in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on February 20.

The findings suggest that voice areas evolved at least 100 million years ago, the age of the last common ancestor of humans and dogs, the researchers say. It also offers new insight into humans' unique connection with our best friends in the animal kingdom and helps to explain the behavioral and neural mechanisms that made this alliance so effective for tens of thousands of years.

"Dogs and humans share a similar social environment," says Attila Andics of MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Hungary. "Our findings suggest that they also use similar brain mechanisms to process social information. This may support the successfulness of vocal communication between the two species."

Andics and his colleagues trained 11 dogs to lay motionless in an fMRI brain scanner. That made it possible to run the same neuroimaging experiment on both dog and human participants -- something that had never been done before. They captured both dogs' and humans' brain activities while the subjects listened to nearly 200 dog and human sounds, ranging from whining or crying to playful barking or laughing.

The images show that dog and human brains include voice areas in similar locations. Not surprisingly, the voice area of dogs responds more strongly to other dogs while that of humans responds more strongly to other humans.

The researchers also noted striking similarities in the ways the dog and human brains process emotionally loaded sounds. In both species, an area near the primary auditory cortex lit up more with happy sounds than unhappy ones. Andics says the researchers were most struck by the common response to emotion across species.

There were some differences, too: in dogs, 48% of all sound-sensitive brain regions respond more strongly to sounds other than voices. That's in contrast to humans, in which only 3% of sound-sensitive brain regions show greater response to nonvocal versus vocal sounds.

The study is the first step toward understanding how it is that dogs can be so remarkably good at tuning into the feelings of their human owners.

"This method offers a totally new way of investigating neural processing in dogs," Andics says. "At last we begin to understand how our best friend is looking at us and navigating in our social environment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Attila Andics, Márta Gácsi, Tamás Faragó, Anna Kis, Ádám Miklósi. Voice-Sensitive Regions in the Dog and Human Brain Are Revealed by Comparative fMRI. Current Biology, February 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.01.058

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Human and dog brains both have dedicated 'voice areas'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220132152.htm>.
Cell Press. (2014, February 20). Human and dog brains both have dedicated 'voice areas'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220132152.htm
Cell Press. "Human and dog brains both have dedicated 'voice areas'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220132152.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins