Dogs have a dedicated area in the brain for processing faces to give social signals and make them highly truthful and devoted animals, says a new study.
Just like humans, dogs have an inborn talent of processing human faces, which was not documented before. That is how a dog can recognize its own mater at one shot.
"Our findings show that dogs have an innate way to process faces in their brains, a quality that has previously only been well-documented in humans and other primates," said Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University and the senior author of the study.
For the study the dogs were first trained to voluntarily enter a functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner and remain motionless without moving, without sedation. The dogs were also trained to learn to pay attention to the screen.
The researchers focused on how dogs respond to faces versus everyday objects.
The dogs viewed static images and video images on a screen while undergoing fMRI. A region in the dog's temporal lobe reacted more to the video images of human faces than other objects.
"Dogs are obviously highly social animal. So it makes sense that they would respond to faces. We wanted to know whether that response is learned or innate," said Berns.