Studying dog emotions

Owners of dogs don’t need much convincing to believe that their pets can sense their moods and respond accordingly. But now scientists have done something quite remarkable and that is to train dogs to lie so still that their brains can be studied in an MRI machine and their response to emotionally loaded sounds analyzed and compared to those of human subjects.

What they claim to find is that dogs are even more sensitive to their owners’ state of mind and understand human emotions better than previously thought. You can see the video here.

Unfortunately the video does not give many details about exactly what they were looking at, what they found, and how they interpreted the results. But what I was really impressed by was that they managed to train dogs to be able to lie so still for so long with all kinds of things attached to their heads while in the machine. Even some humans find the experience so claustrophobic that they need to have sedatives administered to go through with it.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    There is a Nova episode that goes into more detail of how they trained the MRI dog subjects. The relevant portion starts at about 46:30.

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