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Dogs express similar emotions in voice as we do

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Canines respond to emotions in the voice in the same way that humans do, shows research.

"Dogs and humans share a similar social environment. Our findings suggest that they also use similar brain mechanisms to process social information," explained Attila Andics, leader of the Hungarian research group which carried out the study.

"This may support the successfulness of vocal communication between the two species," he added.

Andics and his team trained 11 dogs to lay motionless in an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scanner.

They captured both dog and human brain activities while the subjects listened to 200 dog and human sounds - ranging from whining or crying to playful barking or laughing.

The findings show that dog and human brains include voice areas in similar locations in the brain.

"We begin to understand how our best friend is looking at us and navigating in our social environment," she informed.

In an another study to understand the relationship between dogs and humans, scientists at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, compared the brains of humans with canines and found that they have dedicated voice areas in their brains just as people do.

"A part of the brain associated with positive emotions is similar in dogs and humans," said neuroscientist Gregory Berns from Emory University.

"We hope to show that they love us for things far beyond food, basically the same things that humans love us for, like social comfort and social bonds," he said in a study published in the journal Current Biology.

The voice areas evolved 100 million years ago, the age of the last common ancestor of humans and dogs.

Canines were first domesticated by humans some 32,000 years ago.

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First Published: Fri, February 21 2014. 16:00 IST
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