We’ve posted a couple of times about scientists are using MRO brain scans to gain a better understanding of how dogs’ minds work. (See here and here.) A new article on wired.com describes some remarkable results from experiments performed at Hungary’s Eötvös Loránd University and described in a paper in the journal Current Biology:
Inside the scanner, each of the 11 dogs, and a comparison group of 22 men and women, listened to nearly 200 recordings of dog and human sounds: whining and crying, laughing and barking. As expected, human voice-processing areas responded most to human voices. In dogs, corresponding brain regions responded to the sounds of dogs. In both species, the activity in these regions changed in similar ways in response to the emotional tone of a vocalization. . .
Each of this experiments and discoveries is another step toward a more complete understanding of our best friends, which should be ammunition in the fight to demand better protections for dogs.
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The ethics of experiments on animals is a contentious issue in the scientific community. There are many different types of experiments done on animals, some are more controversial than others. Some scientists feel that these experiments can be justified if they provide important information about human health and disease, while others believe that it is unethical to use animals for research purposes because they are not capable of giving informed consent.