MRI scans show dogs have emotions similar to humans - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

MRI scans show dogs have emotions similar to humans

Posted: Updated:
  • Must Read HeadlinesMore>>

  • Baby girl drenched in 'Ice Bucket Challenge'

    Baby girl drenched in 'Ice Bucket Challenge'

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:25 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:25:06 GMT
    It's an image gone viral, a baby girl drenched in water as part of her grandfather's Ice Bucket Challenge.
    It's an image gone viral, a baby girl drenched in water as part of her grandfather's Ice Bucket Challenge.
  • Study: Action-packed TV might make you snack more

    Study: Action-packed TV might make you snack more

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:23 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:23:05 GMT
    Could action-packed TV fare make you fat? That's the implication of a new study that found people snacked more watching fast-paced television than viewing a more leisurely paced talk show.
    Could action-packed TV fare make you fat? That's the implication of a new study that found people snacked more watching fast-paced television than viewing a more leisurely paced talk show.
  • USMC mascot promoted to Corporal

    USMC mascot promoted to Corporal

    The United States Marine Corps has a brand new Corporal with four legs, a tail, and a no-nonsense look.Cpl. Chesty XIV, an English bulldog is the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps, he received a meritorious promotion to Corporal on August 29th, 2014.
    The United States Marine Corps has a brand new Corporal with four legs, a tail, and a no-nonsense look.Cpl. Chesty XIV, an English bulldog is the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps, he received a meritorious promotion to Corporal on August 29th, 2014.

Man's best friend may have more in common with his or her human owners than previously thought.

For the past two years, neuroscientist Gregory Berns of Emory University has been conducting a series of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on canines – including his pet terrier Callie – and he says his findings show that dogs have the same capacity to experience emotions, such as love and attachment, as humans.

In a recent op-ed in The New York Times, Berns argued that this emotional aptitude must mean that "dogs are people, too," and they should be afforded many of the same rights as people.

Because dogs cannot speak, Berns said that scientists have relied on behavioral observations to better understand what dogs are thinking. This can be tricky, since researchers cannot truly comprehend why a dog performs a certain action or how the dog feels about it.

"By looking directly at their brains and bypassing the constraints of behaviorism, MRIs can tell us about dogs' internal states," Berns argued in The New York Times.

Along with his friend Mark Spivak, a dog trainer, Berns trained his dog Callie and other canine volunteers to enter the MRI scanner in order to measure the dogs' brain responses to two hand signals. Through these tests, Berns noted a striking similarity between dogs and humans in a region of the brain called the caudate nucleus – an area associated with anticipation of things people enjoy.

"… Many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate," Berns wrote in The New York Times. "Neuroscientists call this a functional homology, and it may be an indication of canine emotions."

Because of this finding, Berns said it's possible that dogs experience a level of sentience comparable to human children, suggesting that people should reconsider how they think of their pets.

"Perhaps someday we may see a case arguing for a dog's rights based on brain-imaging findings," Berns wrote in The New York Times.

More from Fox News

Powered by WorldNow
Untitled

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices