Europe

Dogs use same parts of brain as humans to process language

  • In this undated photo provided by the MR Research Center some trained dogs involved in a study to investigate how dog brains process speech sit around a scanner in Budapest, Hungary. Scientists have found that dogs use the same brain areas as humans to process language. A study published in the journal Science showed that dogs process words with the left hemisphere and use the right hemisphere to process intonation. (Borbala Ferenczy/MR Research Center via AP)

    In this undated photo provided by the MR Research Center some trained dogs involved in a study to investigate how dog brains process speech sit around a scanner in Budapest, Hungary. Scientists have found that dogs use the same brain areas as humans to process language. A study published in the journal Science showed that dogs process words with the left hemisphere and use the right hemisphere to process intonation. (Borbala Ferenczy/MR Research Center via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This undated photo made available by Eniko Kubinyi of Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 shows trained dogs, involved in a study to investigate how dogs process speech, posed around a scanner in Budapest, Hungary. A study published in the journal Science showed that their brains process words with the left hemisphere and use the right hemisphere to process intonation — just like humans. (Eniko Kubinyi/Eotvos Lorand University via AP)

    This undated photo made available by Eniko Kubinyi of Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 shows trained dogs, involved in a study to investigate how dogs process speech, posed around a scanner in Budapest, Hungary. A study published in the journal Science showed that their brains process words with the left hemisphere and use the right hemisphere to process intonation — just like humans. (Eniko Kubinyi/Eotvos Lorand University via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This undated photo made available by Eniko Kubinyi of Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 shows a demonstration of how dogs, listening to their owner's voice on headphones, were scanned to determine that their brains processed words with the left hemisphere, while intonation was processed with the right hemisphere — just like humans. (Eniko Kubinyi/Eotvos Lorand University via AP)

    This undated photo made available by Eniko Kubinyi of Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 shows a demonstration of how dogs, listening to their owner's voice on headphones, were scanned to determine that their brains processed words with the left hemisphere, while intonation was processed with the right hemisphere — just like humans. (Eniko Kubinyi/Eotvos Lorand University via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Scientists have found that dogs use the same brain areas as humans to process language.

A study published in the journal Science showed that dogs process words with the left hemisphere and use the right hemisphere to process intonation.

Dogs register that they are being praised only if the words and intonation match, lighting up both brain areas.

This appears to confirm what many dog owners have long believed: Man's best friend cares what we say and how we say it.

Lead researcher Attila Andics, an animal behavior expert at Hungary's Eotvos Lorand University, says the findings suggest that dogs' ability to process language evolved earlier than previously thought.

Andics says what makes human communication unique is the invention of words, not the ability to process them.