What’s on Fido’s mind?
Quite often, I look at my dog, who can’t quite grasp fetch and forgoes her doggy bed in order to squeeze behind the TV stand, and wonder, what is she thinking?
Well, unlike scientists at Emory University, I don’t have access to a million dollar FMRI machine. Otherwise, I could have done what they recently did, which is scan the brain of canines in order to study animal cognition. According to one researcher, dogs may represent better animal models than monkeys, who aren’t as comfortable in environments filled with humans, possibly affecting their thinking. Potential questions to be answered: do dogs respond to the emotions of their owners, i.e. feel empathy? How do dogs conceive of humans - as one big pack, the same as another dog, as individuals identified by smell or sight or some other sense? And do they understand our verbal commands, or do they instead respond to body language or other cues?
Easter egg: here’s my dog, Lucy!