Dogs can detect emotion in human voices, study shows

As many dog owners already know, dogs can often seem tuned into their “person’s” emotions or mood. Now, a new study from Current Biology offers evidence that this is, indeed, the case.

The study found that “dogs are sensitive to cues of emotion in human voices,”

And just how did researchers come to this conclusion? Fox reports, “For their study, researchers trained 11 dogs to sit still in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. The researchers than analyzed the brain activity of both dogs and humans as they listened to 200 different dog and human sounds, ranging from crying to playful barking and laughing.

“While the brains of both dogs and humans responded most strongly to noises produced by their own species, they processed emotionally-loaded sounds in similar ways,” Fox reports.

“Some differences were noted as well: Dogs responded more strongly to non-vocal noises, compared to humans.”

Researchers hope the study will lead to “a better understanding of why dogs are so in tune with their owner’s emotions.”

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