How dog brains process speech (Andics et al., Science, 2016)

We love talking to dogs, but what do they get of all this: WHAT we say or HOW we say it? Intonation works similarly for many
species – for example, excitement is expressed with a higher voice. But humans also have words. When we acquire language, we learn sound sequences for everything… and this opens up a whole new world
of communication. Is this a uniquely human brain capacity to use words? Or can dogs also make sense of what we say? Using functional magnetic resonance imaging we investigated how dog brains process speech. 13 family dogs learn to lie completely motionless for more than seven minutes, and we measured their brain activity as they listened to their trainer’s speech. What we found was really surprising.
Dogs care about both words and intonation. Like people, dogs also prefer to use their
left hemisphere to process word meaning, and a right hemisphere brain region to
analyze intonation. It also turned out that when we praise a
dog, it activates the reward center of their brain, but only if both word meaning
and intonation are praising. Dog brains just like our brains can separately process and also combine WHAT we say and HOW we say it. Using words maybe a human
invention – but we now see that the neural mechanisms to process them are not
uniquely human.

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59 Responses

  1. sj conker says:

    gonna go hug my dog now.

  2. Zsuzsanna Lengyel says:


  3. AuGeR says:

    How is this trending

  4. José Mourinho says:


  5. Walter McMain says:


  6. Defhrone says:

    I just hope my pets understand banter now. Been calling him lovable bastard and stinky etc etc for years

  7. Sylvester says:

    KSP music forever!

  8. Linda Navroth says:

    I'll bet the noise in there drives them nuts. I know it does me.

  9. DJ D Pizzy for sheezy says:

    "We love talking to dogs" Word.

  10. Lawrn West says:

    Hungarians are so innovative, love this scientific study

  11. Richard Perez says:


  12. Nox210 says:

    Is it the same for cats?

  13. TKinfinityx2 says:

    free bike race game music in the background

  14. Barnaby Jones says:


  15. Hiếu Bùi says:

    Do research on cats and found out. Cats understand everything. They just don't care

  16. Meerkatman says:

    I thought i opened bike race XD

  17. Your Majesty says:

    my dog would of never gone in there

  18. //Tara\ says:

    Bike race

  19. LordTime Bomb says:

    I gave my dog treat and a walk after this

  20. Daniel says:

    I want a dog ;_;

  21. Ironsides says:

    +1 for Golden Retriever.

  22. mary jane says:

    anyone recognise kerbal space programme music ?

  23. mary jane says:

    maybe dogs developed it after years of human involvment

  24. KAT Moser says:

    Interesting study. Would like to see it done using recorded words rather than the human speaking them during the experiment. Dogs understand what people are thinking, so to prove an understanding of words and grammar, the live thinking human should not be the one speaking.

  25. Batman says:

    Vhat Ve Say And Vhat Ve Do 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  26. Junaid Ahmed says:

    that backgroung musics from that bike game lol

  27. Archie Netherton says:

    How could you ! U can't strap a dogs neck down

  28. Martin Fülöp says:

    Omg why are most of these studies about dogs done in Hungary now

  29. Maria Katrina says:

    His little tail wagging while he was in the machine, that was so cute ❤️

  30. PitterPatter says:

    That KSP music ❤ bloody interesting!

  31. dak says:

    Okay so this just proves that my dog is a disobedient piece of shit

  32. Agent Office says:

    sexy girl

  33. Grug says:

    I stomped my dog flat and slipped him under my neighbors front door.

  34. Ben Steward says:

    Why is the background music the tune from the bike game load screen?!?! Madness

  35. You are an NPC, please reply. says:

    Do dogs have brains? Because they can't talk right?

  36. Fat Zeus says:

    0.46 – that dog is getting a cat scan! my brain explodes

  37. Slow_d0ge says:

    Kerbal Space Program theme ! 😋 also dogs are amazing 😊 👌🏻

  38. Vegetarian Soylent-Green says:

    Same as human brains though? Cats seem to notice more if you speak higher

  39. Vegetarian Soylent-Green says:

    I think they just relate the sounds you make to the results of their actions (e.g. Frightened when you say 'bad!' Or happy when you say 'good!' Like people)

  40. Vegetarian Soylent-Green says:

    Also cats are autistic and apart from this are only semi-domesticated compared to dogs

  41. S T Justice says:

    this video features sound effects from Kerbal Space Program, I knew I recognized it.

  42. LARPing At Life says:

    I wonder if she's figured what "stupid useless bitch" means.

  43. Ryan M. says:

    All the music, old memories. The song from bike race the game and Kerala space program!

  44. Don Al Capone says:

    Then why can't they talk lol

  45. the missing link says:

    Damn, didn't think I'd hear Hungarian in a top video…

  46. OnlyGreatGame says:

    i love my dog 🙂

  47. Crown4 King says:

    dogs are better then people !

  48. Rayaqin says:

    english pls

  49. Matt Masters says:

    Of course they can process speech… how else can you call them a name? If they couldn't process speech, if you said potato they would thing you wanted to go for a run, or tell the to shit.

  50. Ostrom Ka says:

    quality is like back in the '90s 😀

  51. *Olive* says:

    Is it the same with all other domestic animals? And what about wild ones? This was a very nice video, keep up the good work.
    ° v°)

  52. darkarchon78 says:

    Kíváncsi lennék egy beagle hasonló vizsgálatára, mi aktiválódik az agyában az "értem, de lesz***om" esetében 🙂

    I'd like to see what's in a beagle's mind when they do "I understand but I don't give a sh*t"-behavior 🙂

  53. Bruno Andreotti says:


  54. Pr B says:

  55. Len R says:

    Using only a Golden Retriever will skew the results because they're such good dogs, yes they are.

  56. vayalobo says:

    I came to the same conclusions, but without exposing my dog to radiation…

  57. D.C.V. says:

    What about cats and other animals?

  58. spideraxis says:

    Dogs are so smart.   Smarter than we humans know.

  59. Ben Harris says:

    This is extremely vague.

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