MRI Goes to the Dogs

Dogs Dispatch

January 2016


What’s going on in Spot’s brain when he looks at other dogs? Researchers from Emory University have set out to answer that and several other questions about canines and the way they develop. The researchers first trained the dogs to sit in fMRI scanners and remain motionless without sedation. They then showed the dogs a variety of static and video images of humans, other dogs, and everyday objects. Through this work, researchers discovered the area of the dogs’ temporal lobe associated with facial recognition. They have dubbed this the dog face area, or DFA, because this region responded similarly when the dogs were shown images of other dogs and of people. When the dogs viewed images of everyday objects, the area was less active. This is the first time researchers have mapped which parts of the canine brain are used for this function.

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