Do Dogs Feel Human Emotions?

Do Dogs Feel Human Emotions?

People who live with dogs do not hesitate to announce immediately that dogs feel human emotions and that their animals effectively approach them in those moments when they are sad, discouraged or apathetic, as if they knew that something is not right.

Although owners' personal experiences are important, science has checked the brain function of animals in response to stimulation like laughter or human tears in order to determine whether indeed there is a recognition of these emotions beyond a mere curiosity. Do you think dogs feel human emotions? Keep reading because in this article we explain more on

The answer to the big question

Those who live with dogs know that their pets are always around when they're crying, when they're sad and even when they're apathetic or sick as a dog (pun intended). So far many scientists have supported the hypothesis that dogs act out of curiosity and that they were not able to perceive or empathise with human emotions as we usually do.

However various studies have shown that this belief is false and that, indeed, dogs feel human emotions and they are able to distinguish between a laugh, normal dialogue or even crying. This explains why your pet approaches you and creeps up next to you when it senses that something is not right. Remember that dogs, after centuries of domestication tend to be submissive to their owners, especially if they feel any emotion out of the ordinary.

Interesting studies prove this theory

Several researchers have wanted to see how dogs react to different stimuli related to their owners. Different studies, carried out by all kinds of weird and wonderful professionals, allow us to get a clear idea.

Resonance to determine the olfactory reactions

Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at the University of Atlanta, decided to first use MRI to evaluate how a dog's brain reacts to the familiar smells and also strangers. So it could be shown that the brain, when active, activates an area known as the caudate nucleus, the brain's reward centre. When a dog sniffs flavours that are familiar, there's a positive reaction and a different reaction if the smell is from strangers.

In the human brain, the caudate nucleus is the area that reacts to stimuli such as romantic love or aspects of ravishing beauty, so it is interesting that a dog's brain reacts in this area to perceive odours from your home or its owners.

But what about how they react to the cries of people?

With this baseline study, a team at the University Eotvos Lorand in Budapest, applied MRI to 11 dogs to observe their response to 200 sounds from humans and dogs. They did the same with 22 people exposed to the same sounds. The result was impressive: the auditory cortex of dogs and humans respond the same way to the sounds of laughter or crying, determining that animals are able to recognise them as much as us.

This does not mean that humans and dogs share the same feelings, but our pets can clearly distinguish when we are happy and if not, which is why they come to us to join us and prove their love when they perceive that something is not right.

Other tests

The department of psychology at Goldsmiths University in London also conducted an investigation. With the help of 18 dogs, their owners and strangers, the reaction of animals to crying was evaluated.

In this research some participants simulated for 20 seconds to speak normally, while others pretended to be crying. When the observed person spoke the dog did not show any reaction. However, when participants began to cry and wail, most dogs reacted similarly. They came to try to have physical contact with them and to comfort them, whether it was the dog?s owner or another person. This served to prove that indeed dogs do come to us when we cry or they show us their company, trying to give us support.

Now you know that your dog knows when you cry and the dog wants you to know that it is your loyal companion.

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