A Recent Study Has Shown That Canines Can Comprehend And Link Certain Words To Specific Objects, Suggesting Dogs Are Much Smarter Than We Previously Thought

Mary Swift - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual dog

We all know that dogs are capable of understanding and responding to human words. For instance, they can learn commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “fetch.”

But, according to a new study, dogs are even smarter than we thought. Dogs have the ability to link certain words to specific objects, suggesting that their understanding of words is similar to that of humans.

The lead researchers, Lilla Magyari, an associate professor at Stavanger University in Norway, and Marianna Boros, a postdoctoral researcher at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, were inspired to learn more about how dogs process language after encountering studies on the comprehension skills of infants before they can speak. They decided to conduct similar experiments with dogs.

The study was published in the scientific journal Current Biology. In the study, they had 18 dog owners say words for objects that their dogs already knew.

Then, the owners held up either the matching object or a different one. Small metal discs were attached to each dog’s head to measure their brain activity through electroencephalography (EEG).

The results from the brain recordings showed that brain activity in 14 of the 18 dogs was different when they were presented with an object that matched the word versus a mismatched one. The patterns were similar to what is seen in humans.

The researchers also found that with words the dogs knew better, there was a greater difference in patterns of brain activity when the wrong object was shown. The finding strengthens support of the idea that dogs can understand object words.

“Dogs do not only react with a learned behavior to certain words,” Boros said. “They also don’t just associate that word with an object based on temporal contiguity without really understanding the meaning of those words, but they activate a memory of an object when they hear its name.”

However, the full scope of the canines’ comprehension is still unknown since the dogs were responding to their own toys and objects they were used to seeing at home.

Mary Swift – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual dog

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