Dogs understand words like humans, study reveals

Dogs understand words like humans, study reveals
Dogs understand words like humans, study reveals
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A recent study conducted by Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest has brought to light fascinating revelations about the cognitive abilities of our canine companions. It was discovered that dogs have the ability to understand words that refer to objects, in a similar way to humans. Such a discovery provides valuable insights into how the mind of man’s best friends works.

The research, which analyzed the brain activity of 18 dogs, showed that they are able to activate the memory of an object when hearing its name. This result not only confirms what many pet owners already observe on a daily basis, with commands such as “sit” or “fetch”, but also points to a very advanced cognitive capacity, which goes beyond the simple word-action association. .

The Depth of Canine Understanding

Throughout the study, the dog owners uttered words referring to objects that the animals knew. In some cases, an object corresponding to the word was presented to the dog, while in others, an unrelated object was shown. The results indicated that the dogs’ brain activity patterns differed significantly between these two situations, similar to what occurs in humans.

“Dogs can understand that words represent things… So, they activate mental representations and link the meaning of the word to a mental representation, and not just to the context,” explained Marianna Boros, co-author of the study. The research, published in the journal Current Biology, marks an important contribution to understanding the referential capacity of language in dogs.

A long-standing debate

For a long time, the ability of non-human animals to understand words in a referential way has been discussed. “There has long been a debate about the ability of non-human animals to understand words referentially,” Boros said. Previously, reports of this ability were limited to exceptional cases. Current research suggests, however, that this ability is widely shared among the canine species.

Next Steps in Research

With the results in hand, the researchers now plan to find out whether the ability to understand referential language is specific to dogs or whether it can also be found in other mammals. The potential for future discoveries opens up a vast field of study on animal communication and cognition.

Implications for Pet Owners

This study not only sheds light on the complexity of the canine mind, but also offers valuable guidance for pet owners on how to communicate effectively with their animal companions. Understanding that dogs can recognize specific words and associate them with objects reinforces the importance of clear and consistent communication when interacting with them.

In short, the research conducted in Budapest opens new windows into understanding canine cognition, showing that the bonds between humans and dogs may be even deeper than previously thought. As we continue to explore these connections, our appreciation for the intelligence and sensitivity of our four-legged friends will only grow.


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Dogs understand words humans study reveals

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