It is not for nothing that dogs are called 'man's best friend', however what comes as an even better news for dog owners and dog lovers alike, is the fact that a recent study carried by Hungarian scientists suggests that dogs can actually understand and comprehend what is being said by their masters. The details of the study has been reported in the Washington Post and according to the report, the study was conducted at Eötvös Loránd University, located in Budapest.
The report stated, "But the new findings mean dogs are more like humans than was previously known: They process language using the same regions of the brain as people, according to the researchers, whose paper was published in Science.To determine this, Attila Andics and colleagues at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest recruited 13 family dogs - mostly golden retrievers and border collies - and trained them to sit totally still for seven minutes in an fMRI scanner that measured their brain activity. (The pups were not restrained, and they "could leave the scanner at any time," the authors assured.)
A female trainer familiar to the dogs then spoke words of praise that all their owners said they used - "that's it," "clever," and "well done" - and neutral words such as "yet" and "if," which the researchers believed were meaningless to the animals. Each dog heard each word in both a neutral tone and a happy, atta-boy tone."
The report went on to add, "Using the brain activity images, the researchers saw that the dogs processed the familiar words regardless of intonation, and they did so using the left hemisphere, just like humans. Tone, on the other hand, was analyzed in the auditory regions of the right hemisphere - just as it is in people, the study said. And finally, they saw that the dogs' "rewards center" - which is stimulated by pleasant things such as petting and food and sex - did the brain equivalent of jumping and yelping when positive words were spoken in a positive tone." Andics released a statement, in which he said, "It shows that for dogs, a nice praise can very well work as a reward, but it works best if both words and intonation match. So dogs not only tell apart what we say and how we say it, but they can also combine the two, for a correct interpretation of what those words really meant."