From news.emory.edu October 15, 2018
When some dogs hear their owners say “squirrel,” they perk up, become agitated. They may even run to a window and look out of it. But what does the word mean to the dog? Does it mean, “Pay attention, something is happening?” Or does the dog actually picture a small, bushy-tailed rodent in its mind?
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.
…..Co-authors of the Frontiers in Neuroscience study include Peter Cook (a neuroscientist at the New College of Florida), Mark Spivak (owner of Comprehensive Pet Therapy) and Raveena Chhibber (an information specialist in Emory’s Department of Psychology).
Co-authors of the Science Reports paper also include Spivak and Chhibber, along with Kate Athanassiades (from Emory’s School of Nursing).