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Scientists chase mystery of how dogs process words: New study focuses on the brain mechanisms dogs use to differentiate between words

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Experimental results suggest that dogs have at least a rudimentary neural representation of meaning for words they have been taught, differentiating words they have heard before from those they have not.




Frontiers in Neuroscience published one of the first studies using brain imaging to probe how our canine companions process words they have been taught to associate with objects, conducted by scientists at Emory University. The results suggest that dogs have at least a rudimentary neural representation of meaning for words they have been taught, differentiating words they have heard before from those they have not.

"Many dog owners think that their dogs know what some words mean, but there really isn't much scientific evidence to support that," says Ashley Prichard, a PhD candidate in Emory's Department of Psychology and first author of the study. "We wanted to get data from the dogs themselves -- not just owner reports."
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