Tag: Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest

Dogs and understanding praise.

Life must go on!

I am referring to the smoke and fires in this part of the Western edge of the USA.

For a while it seemed as though evacuation was becoming closer but now, I hope, that we are nearing a change in the weather including some rain later on this week.

So time for another post.

This one about speech processing in the dog’s brain.

The article that I want to republish is in The National Geographic magazine but I do not have permission to reproduce it in full.

Luckily the video that is in the article is also available on YouTube.

So first some extracts of the article.

Dogs understand praise the same way we do. Here’s why that matters.

Dogs can’t speak, but their brains respond to spoken words, suggesting human language has deep evolutionary roots

By VIRGINIA MORELL, Published August 6th, 2020

Every dog owner knows that saying Good dog! in a happy, high-pitched voice will evoke a flurry of joyful tail wagging in their pet.

That made scientists curious: What exactly happens in your dog’s brain when it hears praise, and is it similar to the hierarchical way our own brain processes such acoustic information?

When a person gets a compliment, the more primitive, subcortical auditory regions first reacts to the intonation—the emotional force of spoken words. Next, the brain taps the more recently evolved auditory cortex to figure out the meaning of the words, which is learned.

Then later on the article goes on to say:

“It’s an important question, because dogs are a speechless species, yet they respond correctly to our words,” says Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary,and co-author of both the previous study and the new one, published this week in the journal Scientific Reports. For instance, some dogs are capable of recognizing thousands of names of individual objects, and can link each name to a specific object.

When the scientists studied scans of the brains of pet dogs, they found that theirs, like ours, process the sounds of spoken words in a hierarchical manner—analyzing first the emotional component with the older region of the brain, the subcortical regions, and then the words’ meaning with the newer part, the cortex. (Read how dogs are more like us than we thought.)

It’s much longer than I have presented so I do urge you to go to the article and read it fully; it’s fascinating.

And to close this post I insert the video that is in the article.

All the best to you!

Our speaking dogs

A great follow-on to Marc Bekoff’s essay.

Yesterday’s post was the concluding part of Professor Bekoff’s essay about the world of the dog’s mind. (Part One is here.)

I do hope you all read the essay because it revealed just how complex and wonderful is the brain of man’s oldest friend.

A couple of week’s ago, the UK Daily Mail newspaper published an item with the heading of: What’s your dog trying to tell YOU? Scientists discover animals’ bark can reveal whether it is scared or lonely…and can even be used to tell its gender and age.

This is how the article opened:

Ever wondered what your dog’s trying to tell you with its bark? Well, now there is a computer program able to do just that – and you’d be surprised at just what your pet is able to communicate.

Scientists developed the program after discovering dogs aren’t just trying to attract attention, or scaring off intruders when they bark.

Amazingly, the bark could also let you know the gender and age of your pet – as well as whether it is scared, happy or even lonely.

The Daily Mail quoted a very similar article that appeared in The Independent newspaper on the 29th May. The Independent article included this:

A dog bark may sound like one loud, irritating racket but scientists have discovered that they actually give away information about the animal.

Researchers have developed a computer program which can determine the sex and age of a dog through its bark – a development they say has the potential to help vets diagnose pets.

Scientists analysed 800 barks recorded from eight dogs in seven different situations and developed complex algorithms that were able to predict the gender, age and context of the barker.

The researchers said “canine communication” has been heavily studied over the past decade. However, most of the research has focused on studying how dogs understand human communication, such as hand gestures and voice recognition. This is the first time that the sex and age of domestic dogs have been predicted with the help of sound analysis, they said.

Of the two articles, the one in The Independent seems easiest on the eye so I recommend you read it in full if the subject piques your interest. However, The Daily Mail did include the following video:

They are such remarkable animals!