What a dog thinks, gazing into the eyes to his master, tried to find out, researchers from Emory University, creating a new technique that allows you to scan the brain of dogs and to study the mental processes of an animal that has been domesticated by man since ancient times.
The technology is the use of non-carrier of any damage functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a device that scientists apply in an attempt to unravel the secrets of the human brain. Detailed descriptions of the first experiment on how the brain reacts to the actions dog owner, have been published in the journal PLoS ONE.
The first phase of the project included the participation of two dogs, previously trained how to behave during the fMRI scanning procedure in order to avoid resistance in the study of neural activity.
Scientists have tried to unravel the mental processes of dogs, watching what areas of the brain begin to function in response to irritating stimuli. Complete the study Gregory Berns, director of the Center Neyropolitiki at Emory University, plans to give answers to the following questions: does the dog sympathy? Do they understand the mood of their owners? And how many languages they really understand?
The first experiment involved training the dogs reaction to signals transmitted to the animals by hand owners. One signal meant that the animal will get a tasty reward in the form of sausages, the other - did not bode no encouragement. Scientists have noticed two dogs activation of lenticular nucleus of the brain associated with reward people when they saw a tasty promotion, and vice versa, no activation was observed when the animals did not see the food.
"These results demonstrate that dogs are very attentive to the signals given by the man," - said the head of research Burns. "The study of the brain of dogs gives the opportunity to learn more about how the domestication of animals occurred in persons. Possible that even the dog somehow influenced the evolution of man.
The idea of the project to study the brain of dogs came to Burns about a year ago, when he learned that the dogs of the military and the U.S. Navy SEAL unit included in the capture of Osama bin Laden. "I was amazed by the actions of the dogs in this operation," - said Burns. "I decided that if dogs can be trained to jump from helicopters and airplanes, we could teach them how to behave during fMRI, to read their minds."