Click here to learn more.
You’ve heard it said many times, many ways: “Dogs are people too.” But do you truly believe it?
One researcher out of Atlanta claims to. Hence, why he titled his opinion piece in last weekend’s New York Times after this common refrain. Consider his first two paragraphs by way of introduction to this compelling premise:
“For the past two years, my colleagues and I have been training dogs to go in an MRI scanner — completely awake and unrestrained. Our goal has been to determine how dogs’ brains work and, even more important, what they think of us humans.
Now, after training and scanning a dozen dogs, my one inescapable conclusion is this: Dogs are people too.”
To those of us who live with dogs and love them like family members, the people-ization of dogs is an attractive concept. The notion that dogs offer us as much or more emotional fulfillment as fellow humans is undeniably alluring — more so since most of us know it to be true from having experienced it.
So when Dr. Gregory Berns, a professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University and author of How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain, tells us what we’ve always known — that dogs are emotional creatures too — we’re not just fascinated… we’re sold.
After all, his isn’t the kind of squishy first-person-style argument we animal lovers would be likely to offer ourselves. Instead, Dr. Berns offers us indelible proof in the captivating colors of MRI imagery. Dogs, he finds, share the same kind of reactivity in the caudate nucleus, an area of the brain distinguished for its ability to anticipate things we enjoy, including such ultra-human ideas as art, beauty and love.
Based on these findings, Dr. Berns suggests we need to rethink the treatment of dogs in society. The current legal framework of dogs as property, he argues, is inadequate given clear indications that dogs’ brains are wired more like ours than we ever believed possible before this kind of research.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Manatees risk losing their endangered
status — and one organization needs
your help to prevent that from happening.
Hundreds of mourners gathered to pay
their respects to Kye, a police K9 killed in
the line of duty in Oklahoma City.
Jiff landed two Guinness World Records titles: fastest 10 meters on hind legs and fastest 5 meters on front paws.
Dr. Marty Becker shares feline breeds known for their brains and trainability, from the Abyssinian to the Siamese.
Patrick, who's believed to be the oldest wombat in the world, celebrated his big birthday at a wildlife park in…
The 274 experts we surveyed wouldn’t call these dogs lazy, but these pups may have better things to do than learn a…
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.