Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Brain Scans Show Dogs Think of Humans as Family More than Fellow Dogs

When researchers presented canines with odors of other dogs, food, and their human masters, it was the scent of humans that excited dogs the most.

Animal cognition scientists at Emory University have trained dogs to lie still while scanning their brains with MRI machines. When researchers presented canines with odors of other dogs, food, and their human masters, it was the scent of humans that excited dogs the most.


"The scientists found that dog owners' aroma actually sparked activation in the 'reward center' of their brains, called the caudate nucleus. Of all the wafting smells to take in, dogs actually prioritized the hint of humans over anything or anyone else."

The results of this study verify an earlier experiment done in Budapest where researchers investigated how dogs react to sounds. Like humans, when dogs hear sounds with joyful undertones, the reward center of their brains light up and they become excited.

Researchers noticed other special characteristics of dogs: they are the only non-primate to look humans in the eye and the only domesticated animal to run toward humans for protection and comfort when they are distressed. Cats and horses, for example, run away.

The ability of dogs to bond with humans relies on our emotional attachment to them as well. When researchers scanned the brains of human mothers who had both a baby and a dog for more than two years, they found the activated the brain's reward centers in equal amounts.

Translator David Bellos argues that to dogs, humans are the barking animals. Bellos wants to expand the definition of a language to include animal communication systems:

Read more at Brain Mic

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Malcolm Gladwell live! | Strangers, Storytelling, and Psychology

Join the legend of non-fiction in conversation with best-selling author and poker pro Maria Konnikova.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

Map of the World's Countries Rearranged by Population

China moves to Russia and India takes over Canada. The Swiss get Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi India. And the U.S.? It stays where it is. 

Strange Maps

What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?

Keep reading Show less

Hulu's original movie "Palm Springs" is the comedy we needed this summer

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti get stuck in an infinite wedding time loop.

Gear
  • Two wedding guests discover they're trapped in an infinite time loop, waking up in Palm Springs over and over and over.
  • As the reality of their situation sets in, Nyles and Sarah decide to enjoy the repetitive awakenings.
  • The film is perfectly timed for a world sheltering at home during a pandemic.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists solve the origin of Stonehenge’s sarsen stones

Most of Stonehenge's megaliths, called sarens, came from West Woods, Wiltshire.

Culture & Religion
  • Researchers have known Stonehenge's smaller bluestones came from Preseli Hills, Wales, but the source of its sarsens has remained a mystery.
  • Using chemical analysis, scientists found at matching source at West Woods, approximately 25 kilometer north of the World Heritage Site.
  • But mysteries remain, such as why that site was chosen.
  • Keep reading Show less
    Culture & Religion

    Why are there so many humans?

    Having lots of kids is great for the success of the species. But there's a hitch.

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast