Do dogs see the world the same as humans? A team of scientists has tried to answer this question through an experiment of the most peculiar that has yielded a fascinating discovery about how perception works in these animals.
To do this, researchers at Emory University looked at the brains of two dogs through an MRI machine while they watched home movies. The results of this study have revealed that dogs have significant differences in the way they perceive the world compared to humans.
Unlike people, dogs are much more visually attuned to actions, rather than what or who is performing those actions. This finding represents an important piece of the canine cognition puzzlethe researchers point out it’s a statementas it reveals what a dog’s brain prioritizes when it comes to vision.
The research, published in Journal of Visualized Experimentswas performed only in two dogs, Daisy and Bhubowho watched a series of movies over three 30-minute sessions while relaxing in an MRI machine.
The image content it was specific for dogs, and among them were these pets running, humans interacting with dogs, or giving them treats. Other types of images were also included, such as vehicles passing in front of the camera, people interacting with each other, a deer crossing a road or a cat in a house.
In parallel, and to compare both observations, two humans also watched the same videos while undergoing an MRI.
“Humans are very object oriented“, has pointed out the psychologist Gregory Berns. “We have a particular obsession with naming objects. Dogs seem to be less concerned with who or what they are seeing and are more concerned with action itself,” he explained.
Also, dogs show other differences with respect to humans, and that is that they only distinguish tones of what would be perceived as blue and yellow parts of the spectrum. Instead, they have a higher density of motion-sensitive vision receptors, which could be because dogs need to be more aware of threats in their environment than humans, according to the researchers.
While humans are very visually focused, for dogs the sense of smell is the most powerfulhence the processing of olfactory information occupies a much larger proportion in your brain.