Dog’s Neuroscience

What it’s like to be a dog? 
What are dogs thinking?

Neuroscientist Gregory Berns research in his book How dogs love us Dog’s brain, mainly by using MRI and brain-imaging.
MRI works by sending in a blast of radio waves that excite atoms ( mostly Hydrogen)

Dogs have been with humans for a long time – almost 27,000 years. Dogs and “modern-wolfs” share a “wolf-dog” descendant.
It’s very difficult to understand what dogs are thinking since humans have a strong tendency to anthropomorphize and project their own minds. Historically, Charles Darwin also paid major concern towards dogs, for their rich expression of emotions – He argued that dogs and humans also share evolutionary descendant, and perhaps through dogs we can understand some of our complex emotions.

The world was conquered through the understanding of dogs; the world exists through the understanding of dogs. – Nietzche

Nietzche was talking about humans who are similar to dogs. But humans will never be totally dogs (At least biologically). However, if we can through science understand dogs(animals), maybe we can understand “the world”.

Properties of dogs(Animals):

  • A well-developed sense of smell – A hundred thousand times as sensitive as humans
  • Masters of change – very adaptable 
  • Interspecies social intelligence – Dogs are sensitive to social context
  • Sentient beings – Not only pavlovian learning machines
  • Theory of mind – Dogs can mentalize and interpret. Dogs can imagine what others are thinking.
  • The consciousness of a young child
  • Possess mirror neurons – which are the basis for empathy
  • “Amoral” – No instinctive sense of right and wrong (Although primatologist Franz de Waal argues that Dogs have a sense of fairness)
  • Very limited memory – Between desired behavior & reward
  • Manipulative – Change behavior based on humans thinking
  • Sensitive – Towards Human attention, environmental cues, behaviors,…

Mostly, scientists have studied dogs through the lens of Behavirosim – The main concern is behavior, without any concern for intentionality. In this study, it was evident that dogs are social beings, and to improve the dog-human relationship is through social cognition. Optimally, it is required for humans to be “Great Leaders” – Clear and consistent.

The brain-imaging result showed that dogs have mental processes substantially similar to humans.
Dogs are thinking about what humans are thinking. 

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