Dogs have feelings, according to a study conducted by a neuroeconomics professor of Emory University, Atlanta. This study have shown that dogs have similar feelings to those of people. These findings could change the way these pets are looked at and treated.
The study proving that dogs have feelings
Professor Gregory Burns has made a series of MRI scans on his dog. At first, his aim was to find out how dogs’ brain worked.
He asked for some help from Mark Spivak, who trained the dog to lie still in the MRI machine. Otherwise, he would have had to do the scans under anesthesia, in which case he wouldn’t have been able to observe the dog’s brain activity.
After months of training, the dog was ready. The scans made showed that the caudate nucleus of the dog’s brain was the one activated by positive stimuli. It is the same in our case: the same nucleus is activated in the human brain. The dog’s caudate nucleus is associated with affection and food. The same happens when they feel their owner’s smell. This is what proves that dogs have feelings.
A dog’s capability to have feelings such as love and attachment suggests that dogs have a similar level of emotional intelligence as a two-year-old.