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  • Hey guys! I just learned about a dog named Chaser.

  • Chaser is a border collie who has a vocabulary of more than 1,000 words, that's like the same as a 4-year-old child.

  • But what makes Chaser even more special, is that he can even separate nouns from verbs.

  • Take lips. Take lips. Do it girl, do it! Good girl, good girl.

  • Paw lamb. Paw lamb, paw lamb, Chaser. Good girl, good girl!

  • Nose ABC, nose ABC. Good girl, good girl!

  • This is Oliver. Oliver, you think you're smarter than Chaser? What do you say? What do you say?

  • Yeah, let's go find out. Come on!

  • Get your ball. Where's your ball?

  • Get your bone. Where's your bone? Nope, that's your ball.

  • Where's your bone? Bone. Bone. Nope.

  • Find your bone? Where's your bone?

  • Okay, so maybe Oliver's not that good at this particular test, but the fact that we even try to communicate with dogs, and that they communicate back with us,

  • means that the human-dog relationship is truly something special.

  • Who's the best boy? Who's the best boy?

  • I… have been known to talk to dogs a little.

  • Who's the good boy? Who's the good boy?

  • Or... a lot.

  • Who is the smartest doggy in the world?

  • It's hard to know if they're responding to the words, or just the emotion in my voice, or the fact that I sound ridiculous.

  • Well, one recent study suggests it's both...or all three.

  • Researchers at the University of Sussex played sounds out of speakers on both sides of a dog.

  • When dogs heard commands stripped of their emotional context, they turned their head to the right, suggesting they process verbal meaning in their left hemisphere.

  • And when they heard the emotional sounds in the voice, but the words were jumbled, they turned to the left, suggesting they process emotional sounds on the right.

  • These experiments show that dogs can definitely separate the meaning of words from the emotions attached.

  • But how much information do they take from each?

  • When I ask my dogs "Do you want to go for a walk?" they aren't processing the real meaning of that sentence the way we do, like

  • Hmm, let me see, do I want to go for a walk right now? Get some exercise? Maybe I'm not feeling it today.

  • But I'm a dog, what does it even mean to want something?

  • As good as dogs are with words, in many of our interactions there's probably a good amount of Clever Hans at play.

  • In the early 1900's a horse named Hans was said to be able to solve simple math problems by tapping his hoof to represent numbers. 2 + 3?

  • Smart horse! It was later found, though, that Hans couldn't do math at all.

  • He was just responding to tiny cues from his handlers, maybe their facial expressions would tense as he got close to the right answer,

  • or they would exhale when he tapped the right number.

  • Clever Hans demonstrates that while we might think of language as something we experience mainly through our ears, we communicate meaning using more than just sound frequencies.

  • In his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Charles Darwin argued that the way that we outwardly express and interpret emotions evolved from animals,

  • and that our ability to recognize fear, happiness, sadness, even across species, is universal, and innate. It's something that we're born with.

  • Today, scientists are still debating whether Darwin was right, but recent research suggests that we do share one special bit of emotional intuition with our canine companions.

  • Dogs are the only non-primate animals that seek out eye contact with humans.

  • Their wolf ancestors, even tame ones, although they're close enough genetically to interbreed with dogs, won't look us in the eyewhich is why you can never, ever trust a wolf.

  • How am I doing?

  • When reading emotions in other people we tend to look disproportionately and unconsciously to the right side of their face.

  • The dogs share this so-called left-gaze bias, but only when looking at human faces, not when they look at other dogs.

  • It seems like they genuinely want to understand what we're telling them and what it means.

  • And we seem to understand them too, or at least we think we do.

  • Researchers in Hungary tested people's ability to interpret the meaning of recorded dog barks, and found that many people really can speak dog.

  • What do you think this bark means?

  • Okay, that dog's angry. That's pretty easy.

  • What about this one?

  • Do you want to go for a walk?

  • Okay, that dog wants to go for a walk. One more.

  • I have no idea what that means.

  • If you think about it, this dog-human language connection makes a lot of sense.

  • We've co-evolved with these creatures for the past 10,000 years or so.

  • We've molded them from wolves into puppies with our hands and our brains, and our voices.

  • Even if we don't always understand each other, well, they're always there to listen, and that's the real meaning of a best friend. Isn't it buddy?

  • Wait a second. Sorry.

  • Hello? Um, yeah, sure. It's for you.

  • Hello? This is Oliver.

  • Hello. This is dog.

  • Oh, hey Luna!

  • Have you seen Vanessa? She's been out for hours! I miss her.

  • Ruh roh!

  • Um, thanks Luna! If you want to find out more about dog behavior, head on over to BrainCraft and find out if they really miss us when we're gone. Stay curious.

  • Good boy. Oh, and special thanks to Oliver.

Hey guys! I just learned about a dog named Chaser.

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Does My Dog Know What I'm Thinking?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2022/01/02
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