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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Dogs experience emotion at the level of a human child

Ever wonder if your dog really loves you?

Image: Imgur

DOG OWNERS HAVE long been lauding their pets ability to love and offer loyal companionship, so they probably will not be surprised by new research which indicates that they feel emotions at the level of a human child.

Gregory Berns and his team at Emory University have spent two years examining the brain activity of dogs using M.R.I. scanner and what they discovered has been published in a new book, How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain.

Writing in the New York Times, Berns indicated that dogs respond to humans they know using the caudate nucleus in the brain, the same part of the brain humans use in anticipation of things they enjoy.

Do these findings prove that dogs love us? Not quite. But many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate.              

Berns suggested that the level of emotion and perception indicated in his research suggests that the idea of dogs as property needs to be reconsidered.

The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.

So, next time you’re defending your love of dogs, you can say that Science indicates that they probably love you too!

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