Canine Brain

Dog smiling looking at the camera

Your dog loves you, NOT because you’re beautiful!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Puppies — they’re adorable! But do they think WE’RE cute?

Nora Bunford and her team from Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest also wondered. They used MRI scanners to measure the brain activity of twenty dogs.

The dogs sat in the MRI and watched videos of the front and back of human and dog’s heads. Thirty human volunteers did the same.

Human brains sparked when they looked at faces. But the dogs? Didn’t care much whether they looking at the face or the back of the head. Their brains don’t differentiate between the two.

The dog’s brain doesn’t have a special region to process faces, like ours do. But they can recognize their owners. They learn to make eye contact and even know when we are sad!

Knowing more about dogs’ brain activity might help us to communicate with our fluffy friends!

They might not be impressed by your looks! But they LOVE you unconditionally! Even with that raggedy pandemic haircut–or lack of!

Bunford, N., Hernández-Pérez, R., Farkas, E. B., Cuaya, L. V., Szabó, D., Szabó, Á. G., Gácsi, M., Miklósi, Á., & Andics, A. (2020). Comparative Brain Imaging Reveals Analogous and Divergent Patterns of Species and Face Sensitivity in Humans and Dogs. The Journal of Neuroscience, 40(43), 8396–8408.