Does Your Dog Really Love You? Scientist Says Yes

CBS Local — What’s really going on inside the brain of “man’s best friend”? One scientist says he knows what our four-legged friends are thinking and the answer will warm every pet-lovers’ heart.

According to neuroscientist Gregory Berns of the Emory University in Atlanta, dogs love their owners and it has to do with more than just the food they give them. Dr. Gregory Berns detailed his experiments to find out what dogs were thinking in a new book, “What It’s Like To Be a Dog.”

In an interview with the New York Times, he revealed how the loss of his own dog, Newton, sparked his curiosity into what our pets really think of us.

“I thought about him a lot. I wondered if he’d loved me, or if our relationship had been more about the food I’d provided,” Berns said. Using MRI scans, the neuroscientist reportedly determined that the prefrontal lobe activity in a dog’s brain was similar to humans. Simply put, dogs use the same parts of their brains to solve problems that humans do.

“When we compared their responses and looked at the rewards center of their brains, the vast number of dogs responded to praise and food equally,” Berns added. “Now, about 20 percent had stronger responses to praise than to food. From that, we conclude that the vast majority of dogs love us at least as much as food.”

The study also revealed that dogs can process human faces; meaning they can tell the difference between their owner and another person. For dog owners, Berns’ findings mean they can take it as a compliment when their furry friend is bouncing off the walls when they get home.

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