All pet-owners have known all along that our beloved four-legged friends do indeed love us. We can see the evidence through their tail wags, the way they seek us for comfort, and in their eyes as they gaze back into ours. Now, science has proven that dogs do really love us and don’t just see us a their source for food and other survival elements.
A group of scientists from the Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia, conducted a controlled study that proves that dogs, similarly to humans, have a part in their brains that associate emotions just like we do. In order to successfully perform the controlled study, scientists had to train a group of dogs to be comfortable enough around and in and MRI scanner to get the digital scans of their brains without having to compromise the outcome by sedating the dogs.
The data collected proved that dogs’ have the same caudate nucleus – a part of the brain associated with feeling emotions – than we do. Not only did they find that dogs can process emotions, but they also realized that dogs can empathize with human emotions. The dogs were then shown objects with different scents on them, some were strange and others were familiar, to see how their brains reacted to these. The dog’s part of the brain that responds to rewards lit up significantly higher when they recognized familiar scents from their owners and families as opposed to when they were shown foreign scents.
A similar study was done at the Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, that proves that dogs, just like humans, process sounds differently when the source of the sound carries emotional value. Attila Andics, the lead scientist of the vocal communication study in dogs and humans, shared something with the public that will surely provide you with the comfort of knowing that your dog sincerely and truly does love you with his heart, as she said, “Dogs are the only species that when frightened, worried, or anxious, run to their humans for comfort, just like children do. They are also the only species that seek eye-contact with their humans.”