Humans and Dogs Process Emotions Similarly

Similar areas of the brain are dedicated to recognizing voice and processing emotion

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Humans and dogs both have similar areas of their brains dedicated to processing voice and emotions, a new study finds.

Researchers scanned 11 dogs’ brains and 22 humans’ brains as they listened to dog and human sounds: barking, laughing, whining, and crying.

Similar regions of the brain lit up for dogs and humans when they listened to sounds made by their own species, according to the study published in the journal Current Biology. There were also similarities in brain reactions when the participants heard emotional sounds. Researchers remarked that the finding could explain why dogs tend to be attuned to humans’ emotions.

“At last we begin to understand how our best friend is looking at us and navigating in our social environment,” study author Attila Andics of MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Hungary in a statement.