Do you talk to your dog and make fun of you? From today you can cite a research published in a prestigious scientific journal - Current Biology - which has succeeded in showing that dogs have an understanding of our language that is much more sophisticated than previously thought and are able to grasp the different components of our language.
Can you recognize the language of dogs?
They understand our language. The study shows, in fact, that dogs know how to recognize sounds (and this was already known) and are able to analyze even words and their intonation (and this is new).
Two researchers from the University of Sussex, Victoria Ratcliffe and David Reby, subjected 250 dogs to an experiment: various sounds and phrases from their masters were transmitted from two speakers positioned to the right and left of the dogs respectively. The system was designed so that the dogs could hear the sounds from the two opposite sound sources at the same time.
Interpretative key. The experiment was based on the hypothesis that stimuli arriving at one ear are transmitted mostly to the cerebral hemisphere of the opposite side. If therefore a hemisphere was specialized in the elaboration of specific information, then that information would be perceived as coming from the opposite ear.
Having established these premises, during the experiment the researchers noticed that if well-known commands like "come here" or "let's go" were pronounced, about 80% of the dogs turned their heads to the right, in the opposite direction to the left hemisphere, responsible for understanding language.
If the same command was pronounced, instead, in a language "unknown" to the animal or with some grammatical error, so as to make the word different, the dog turned its head to the left, in the opposite direction to the right hemisphere, deputy to the deciphering the tone and the emotion underlying it.
Let's try to understand. The separate processing in the two hemispheres is very similar to that which occurs in the brain of the human being. This absolutely does not mean that dogs understand everything that is said to them (as some media have erroneously reported), but simply that they pay attention to different aspects of communication: that is not only to what we say but also to how we say it. "We do not know to what extent they understand the words - explained the scholar Victoria Ratcliffe -, but they certainly analyze the information transmitted by human language in different areas of the brain, just like us".
And do we know when our dog "speaks" to us with the body? Take the test