Using the latest technology in brain scans, the research team at Emory University were able to discover that dogs are indeed capable of feeling love. Although it may be obvious to most dog lovers, we now have concrete scientific proof that the feeling is on par with how humans feel love.
What was also interesting was that they found that dogs had a very efficient means to recognize faces, which also triggered the reactions in their brain to feel love. Overall, prefrontal lobe reactions in dogs are very similar to activity found in human prefrontal lobes. This also ties in with the theory of dogs having high-emotional intelligence that is nearly on par with humans.
The neuroscientist heading the experiment, Gregory Berns, had given hot dogs and affection to measure the brain waves emitted from the dogs in the experiment. Both affection and feeding had high pleasure responses but affection was 20 percent higher. That shows that dogs actually appreciate us more than food, even if only slightly more.
This information is currently being publicized in order to help dog trainers and other pet professionals engage with dogs. More importantly, understanding the reward and gratification patterns of dogs will allow us to understand which training methods may respond more effectively with their brains.
When it comes to problem-solving, their brains use the same routines as humans, although it is a bit slower in many instances. This is useful in the sense that trainers may now know that dogs will respond to the same type of logic as us humans.
These brain scans also can be used in the future to determine which breeds of dogs are suited to complete certain tasks and have overall higher problem-solving skills. For the sake of novelty, we may also understand which breeds are more likely to respond well to affection and rewards to make better companions.
This sort of research is still in its early stages and there are more applications to be realized from brain scans. Applying the same concept to other animals, like cats, may be useful for both the pet industry and the agricultural industry. Studying brain patterns of pests could also prove to be useful when combating infestations within the country’s agriculture.