Taking a peek inside the brains of dogs to see how they work

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Image credit: ENIKŐ KUBINYI

If dogs could talk, what would they say about us and the way they see the world? Just how do dogs think?

Neuroscientist Gregory Berns, featured in the most recent episode of The Macroscope, is trying to answer those questions in his lab at Emory University. Rather than glimpse into puppy eyes, he taps into their brain activity. In the Dog Project, Berns and his team train volunteer pet dogs to get their brains scanned in an fMRI machine to better understand what they are actually thinking—and what their cognition tells us about ourselves.

Gregory Berns: The thing about language that amazes me is that we humans talk constantly, frequently without saying much, too. And it’s amazing that dogs can kind of pick out salient words out of this kind of stream of jibberish coming from us and somehow magically know what that means.

Related article:  The Disordered Mind: How our brains control our emotions

Gregory Berns on emotions: In many cases when they’re in the scanner, they’re in kind of a more contained state, and yet what’s amazing to me is even though the dogs are still in the scanner they’re all doing what they’re supposed to do. We can still detect differences in how they’re reacting to these very salient cues so they are experiencing these things and I would call them emotions, actually.

Read full, original post: Seven Questions About How Your Dog’s Brain Works

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