A Hungarian study reveals that dogs can tell if someone speaks their native language or a foreign language.
Brain scans from 18 dogs revealed that different areas of their brains activated based on which language they were hearing
A native Hungarian speaker and a native Spanish speaker read sentences from the book The Little Prince to the dogs while they were in the MRI scanner. The dogs were not familiar with the text or the readers.
The result was that the dogs showed different brain activity based on which language they had heard. The two areas of the brain where the different activities took place are linked to understanding the meaning of speech and if it’s emotionally positive or negative.
Older dogs and long-nosed dogs can distinguish different languages better
According to the research, the differences in brain scans were more pronounced in dogs with longer snouts and in older dogs.
The study author Laura Cuaya believes the older dogs were better at distinguishing different languages because they had spent more years listening to their native language. However, she couldn’t tell why long-nosed dogs were better at distinguishing languages.
Dr. Katherine Houpt, the James Law Professor Emeritus in the section of behavior medicine at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, suspects the reason might be that a long snout is common among sheepdogs. Sheepdogs need to understand what a shepherd is saying to them.
The study indicates that dogs learn from their social environments
The results of the study indicate that dogs are social learners. Just like humans, dogs are interested in their environment. They constantly learn new things from their social environments.
Who knows what else dogs can do? It seems that new studies show over and over again that dogs are smarter than we thought.