Dog Brains Link Pleasure With Owner’s Scent
An owner’s scent activates the parts of a dog‘s brain associated with pleasure, a new brain-imaging study says.
A dog encountering its owner’s smell could feel in some way like a person reacting to the perfume or cologne of a loved one, according to study leader Gregory Berns, a neuroeconomist at Emory University in Atlanta.
For his research, Berns trains dogs to sit still during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), allowing him to look into the minds of man’s best friends. Compared with MRI, which takes images of the brain, fMRI measures the activity of the brain’s nerve cells. (Watch a video of Berns at work here.)
Though people and dogs have been bonding for 40,000 years, scientists still have trouble interpreting their barks, wags, and other behaviors.
“We started the dog project about three years ago to get