For the first time, humans are able to capture images of actual canine thought processes. Researchers at Emory University have developed a way to scan the brains of alert dogs to learn more about the workings of the fascinating canine mind.
The dogs in the initial Emory experiment were trained to respond to hand signals by their owners. One signal meant the dogs would receive a food treat; the other signal meant they would not receive one. Measured by an MRI, a specific region of the dog’s brains showed activity when they were given the hand signal for the treat, but not for the no-treat signal.
The researchers hope to answer questions like: do dogs have empathy? Can they read their owners’ moods? How much human language do they really understand?