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Researchers identify an area of the dog brain dedicated to processing human faces

03 January 2019

If you want to know about the special relationship between human and canine you need only watch an owner slavishly feed, cuddle and clean up after her dog, day after day after day. But is this unique cross-species relationship also reflected at a deeper level, in the workings of the canine brain?

A recent study in Learning and Behavior suggests tht it is, finding that highly trained dogs have a dedicated neural area for processing human faces, separate from the area involved in processing the faces of other dogs.

The researchers, led by Andie Thompkins at Auburn University, say their results are of theoretical importance in relation to the evolutionary origin of cognitive abilities. They could have practical use too, potentially paving the way to using brain scans to validate the expertise of trained dogs.

Read more about this study on our Research Digest blog.

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