Researchers at Llorand Etvos University (ELTE) in Budapest set out to test whether dogs could distinguish between languages. The animals read parts of “The Little Prince” in Hungarian and Spanish. MRI studies revealed different interactions in the auditory cortex.

Researchers in Hungary say dogs’ brains are able to distinguish between languages ​​as they recreate excerpts from Antoine Saint-Exupéry’s book “The Little Prince” in Hungarian and Spanish for a group of four-legged men. The results of the analyzes were announced Thursday in the scientific journal “Neurolmage”.

The study was conducted by a group of scientists led by Laura V. Cuaya of Lorand Eoetvoes University (ELTE) in Budapest, which owns Kun-kun.

A few years ago, I moved from Mexico to Hungary to join the Neurobehavioral Laboratory of the School of Behavioral Sciences at ELTE for Postdoctoral Research. My dog ​​was kun kun with me. Before, I’d only speak Spanish with him, so I was wondering if Kun had noticed that people in Budapest spoke a different language, Cuya explained. We know that people, even children, notice the difference. But maybe dogs don’t care. After all, we don’t really pay our dogs attention to what a particular language looks like. To find out, she added, we designed a brain imaging study.

different reactions

Eighteen dogs, including her dog, were taught to lie down during the MRI scan. Previously, each dog could hear only one language from its owner: either Hungarian or Spanish.

They found that the brain response patterns of both languages ​​in the dogs’ auditory cortex were different from each other. At the same time, the older the dog, the easier it is for his brain to distinguish between two languages.

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– Each language has its own phonemic characteristics. Study co-author Raul Hernandez-Perez said the study results show dogs learn better and better what their owner’s language looks like during their lives. “This study shows for the first time that the human brain can distinguish between two languages,” he added.

More research

As noted by the head of the ELTE Neuroscience Research Group, Attila Andyx, it remains unclear whether dogs’ ability to distinguish languages ​​results from changes in their brains due to listening to humans for thousands of years, or whether other animal species also have a similar ability. .

“More research is needed to answer this question,” Andics said.

PAP, eurekalert.org, Budapest Times

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