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Study Aims To Read Dogs' Thoughts

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the squirrel-ball-cat! dept.

Science 154

jjp9999 writes "A new study at Emory University is trying to figure out what dogs think. The study uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to scan the dogs' brains while they're shown different stimuli. Results from the first study will be published by the Public Library of Science, where the dogs were shown hand signals from their owners. 'We hope this opens up a whole new door for understanding canine cognition and inter-species communication. We want to understand the dog-human relationship, from the dog's perspective,' said Gregory Berns, director of the Emory Center for Neuropolicy and lead researcher of the dog project."

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154 comments

Hello? (5, Funny)

dolo724 (22338) | about 2 years ago | (#39908877)

Yes, this is Dog.

Re:Hello? (3, Interesting)

Katakaa (2632969) | about 2 years ago | (#39908931)

I think it would be more interesting to study cats. Last night I was swimming at my pool (drunk), and the cats around my apartment building seemed interestingly intelligent. They come up on the bench to watch my computer screen, wanted to be hugged and generally seemed to have advanced thought process.

On top of this, geckos seem rather intelligent too. Their callsign "gecko" is not that easy to make, as it has tons of variations in the tune. If you have ever heard the noise a gecko makes you know what I'm talking about. On top of that the reasoning behind the sign is rather intelligent too - it messages to other geckos that "I'm here" and wants to meet with them.

It's almost funny that geeks seek to find intelligent life outside earth when there is so many around us.

Re:Hello? (4, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#39908973)

Cats thoughts: Kill the human? No, need food, human bad to eat. Kill the human? No, need catnip. Kill the human? No, need water. DOG. RUN.

Re:Hello? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 years ago | (#39909073)

Cats thoughts: Kill the human? No, need food, human bad to eat. Kill the human? No, need catnip. Kill the human? No, need water.

More likely- "Kill the human? No, way too big."

Re:Hello? (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#39909647)

"That's mine! That too! All that's mine, that's mine, but not that bit. It's been a good morning, I've eaten three times, slept six times and made a lot of things mine...next I'm going to see if I can't have sex with something!"

(That line is the one which got Red Dwarf commissioned in the first place.)

Re:Hello? (4, Funny)

xevioso (598654) | about 2 years ago | (#39909247)

Yeah, I used to think my cats jump up on the bed in the morning to see if I am awake so they can say hello and greet me as I start the new day. Actually I have figured out they are checking to see if I am alive or not so the feasting on my still-warm corpse can begin.

Re:Hello? (4, Interesting)

Paracelcus (151056) | about 2 years ago | (#39909575)

Anybody that thinks that there can be no bond between Humans and cats has not had a close friendship with one!

In 1970 a few years after my dog Lady had died at age sixteen, a badly mauled little white tomcat was sitting in the hallway of the bldg in which I lived (it was open to the ally in the rear), I opened my door and said "you OK cat?" and with no warning he darted under my still opened sofa bed. Not wanting to lose any fingers by pulling him out I tried to coax him out with pieces of fried beef liver, he ate all the liver and a frankfurter (most of it from my hand) and finally got him to come out with a bowl of milk.

I named him Casey Cat, he was the toughest, most pugnacious, scarred up, feisty little runt I had ever seen! He was an American short haired all white alley cat, with one eye damaged, chewed up ears and a missing canine tooth. He weighed in at about six pounds.

Casey came and went as he pleased through an open window, He'd wake me by purring on my chest and when my eyes opened he'd grunt in my face with cat food breath (he could not meow). He was a very memorable friend!
   

Re:Hello? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910071)

I feel bad for animals in bad shape, like that. But it honestly sounds more like a human-rodent relationship. It comes around for food, but otherwise doesn't care.

Dogs are great though. They actually love the shit out of you. Man's best friend, ftw!

Re:Hello? (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | about 2 years ago | (#39910895)

I feel bad for animals in bad shape, like that. But it honestly sounds more like a human-rodent relationship. It comes around for food, but otherwise doesn't care.

Dogs are great though. They actually love the shit out of you. Man's best friend, ftw!

Sadly true. I've had cats all my life, but no matter how great you think you and your cat are together, they will leave you flat for a better meal somewhere else. Cats have no sense of loyalty.

Re:Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909351)

It is more like: "It is drunk and swimming. Wait until it downs and then feast on its flesh."

Re:Hello? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#39909401)

Seems more like "DOG! EAT IT! QUICK BEFORE IT GETS AWAY!"

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING

ZOMG! Slashdot is censoring me just like Facebook!

I CAN HAZ TRANSLATION? (4, Funny)

Guppy (12314) | about 2 years ago | (#39909477)

Cats thoughts

Good attempt but your dialect and accent are off. As a long-time scholar of Cat, let me translate for you:

I CAN KILLZ HOOMAN? No, need füdz, hoomanz is made of bad füdz.
I CAN KILLZ HOOMAN? No, give catnipz plz. Kthnxbai.
I CAN KILLZ HOOMAN? No, give waterz plz. Kthnxbai.
DOG. RUN.

Re:I CAN HAZ TRANSLATION? (1)

Alsee (515537) | about 2 years ago | (#39910899)

No, need füdz, hoomanz is made of bad füdz.

What kind of "cat scholar" are you? What cat ever uses an ümlaüt? No cat I've ever seen.
Not even German cats. And I've spoken with plenty of German cats.

-

Re:Hello? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 2 years ago | (#39909361)

I think it would be more interesting to study cats.

Cats have 3 thoughts:
Lunch
Nap
If I were bigger, you'd be lunch

Re:Hello? (1)

rikkards (98006) | about 2 years ago | (#39910013)

I read at one point that the reason cats are independent is not because they choose to, because they are not intelligent enough to form packs. I figure that is a stretch but I wish I could find that paper

Re:Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910113)

"Last night I was swimming at my pool (drunk), and the cats around my apartment building seemed interestingly intelligent. They come up on the bench to watch my computer screen, wanted to be hugged and generally seemed to have advanced thought process."

They thought you were drunk enough to drown and die, then they would have eaten you.

Re:Hello? (3, Informative)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#39910297)

A cat's thoughts [kittens-lair.net]

Cats and dogs are both quite intelligent. They're very different, dogs are typically more loyal, and they're social/pack oriented. They want to be part of a heirarchy with a leader (usually an alpha male). They want approval and acceptance into the pack.

Cats are more possessive (they "own" you) and independent. Cats have a "language", their different vocalizations have different meanings. I learned to tell the difference such that I could recognize when I cats were asking for food, water, attention, going outside, caution, or when they just wanted to "talk" (be social). It's simplistic as a "language", but it's effective, and appears to be common to most cats, so it fulfills the requirements of being a "language".

Re:Hello? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 2 years ago | (#39911165)

Dogs also have a "language" - different types and tones of bark (danger, fear, play), many other combinations of body language and sound.

(Said as an owner of three dogsand one retarded cat, and companion/housemate to a cat of normal feline intellect )

Re:Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909529)

Stake. Stake. Stake. Stake. Pooh. Lick myself. Stake. Stake.

Can I get lot of grant money please?

Re:Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909543)

Yeah...it's so funny.

Re:Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909631)

the Mondaug project?

Already done (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39908905)

Bacon? Is that Bacon? Got to have that bacon! Bacon!

Re:Already done (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#39909177)

Dogs can be pretty clever though. I've been observing the development of my delightful pomeranian puppy and have noticed some quite complex emergent behaviour in terms of how she tries to manipulate me to get treats and stuff. Also I've translated a few of the cues she gives - two forepaws slapped down on the ground means no, jumping up in the air and spinning round means yes when I start listing off activities.

Re:Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910199)

No, sorry, that was the human control subject.

they need a study? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39908911)

Very simple to read a dogs thoughts:

1. Play!? Play?!?

2. FOOD!!!

3. You're my master and I love you! It's ALWAYS wonderful to see you!

4. Petting feel good!

5. *if growling* Who the fuck are you?!? If master doesn't like you, you're DEAD! If master likes you then, I LOVE YOU TOO!

Unless they're one of those teeny tiny barking rat type of dogs the it's "I'm gonna kill you!"

Thanks to scientists... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39908923)

Instead of Woof! we'll have

"You are now trespassing on my territory. I have determined that you are not a friend and have no rights to your position. You are hereby advised to withdraw immediately, or run the risk of forcible removal and/or dismemberment."

Ignoring the more important question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39908925)

Do we want to know what dogs are thinking? Or would knowing that ruin the dog-human relationship?

Re:Ignoring the more important question.... (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#39908933)

Probably the case with any relationship, actually. Do we really want to know what other people are thinking? Or cats?

Re:Ignoring the more important question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910677)

I don't know, but using this technology I plan to find out.

Re:Ignoring the more important question.... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#39909319)

Do we want to know what dogs are thinking? Or would knowing that ruin the dog-human relationship?

We own a yellow lab, and I'm pretty confident I know what she's thinking about most of the time - she's not that complicated of a creature.

Of course, she might be thinking the same thing about me...

Re:Ignoring the more important question.... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#39909895)

There was that old joke that if aliens were to observe Earth, they would assume cats and dogs were the rulers and humans there slaves.

Re:Ignoring the more important question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910911)

*their You ignorant git.

Re:Ignoring the more important question.... (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#39909363)

Half the fun of a dog is in trying to figure out what they want from us. Basic answer: Love me like I love you.

They could have just played Black & White 2... (3, Interesting)

dryriver (1010635) | about 2 years ago | (#39908941)

You know, the excellent God-Game by Lionhead Studios where you have to create & educate a "Creature" to fight for your people and interests. The creature in B&W 2, though artificial, is probably about as smart as your average dog. Oh well. Happy studying...

Squirrel! (4, Insightful)

Frequency Domain (601421) | about 2 years ago | (#39908961)

Darn the minimal post requirement! Subject says it all.

fMRI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39908981)

You mean the same thing that can read the thoughts of a dead fish?

(http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/09/fmrisalmon/ is one of the many articles on the study.)

Dogs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39908985)

Why not try to figure out what attractive women think instead of...okay mod me down now.

Read'em right here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909019)

Why go to all that trouble when you can read dogs' thoughts right here?

They've read Bo's thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909079)

"Help! Don't let him eat me!" #ObamaEatsDogs #theFirstDog

Top 3 dog thoughts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909105)

What does that butt smell like?

Can I eat that?

Mitt Romney is a dick.

In other news (2)

brunes69 (86786) | about 2 years ago | (#39909185)

A similar study to try to discover what cat's think, was foiled when the cats refused to participate fully in the study. Before they left, initial results showed the following thought: "Get out! The're onto us!"

Profit (4, Funny)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 2 years ago | (#39909191)

1) Read dog's thoughts.
2) .......
3) Profit.

What's the missing 2nd step here?
Only a dog would know. If only we could read their thoughts. Wait.....

Re:Profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909603)

2) Write and sell books about training your dog with our new insight into the dog mind.

Re:Profit (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#39909659)

2) Sell these "insights" to all the crazy people who'd do more for their dogs than their kids. What foods it likes, what play toys it likes, whatever else it wants... with kickbacks from the companies that make it, of course.

Bacon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909213)

I'd get it myself but I don't have thumbs!

Please make this expansive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909259)

Not just your average dog, but trained dogs, untrained dogs, oddly intelligent dogs, near-suicidally stupid dogs.

This could be extremely helpful if done right and not just extwaaapolated to the entire species.
Sick of stupid studies that do that, STOP MISUSING MATH. THAT IS NOT HOW REALITY WORKS.

Re:Please make this expansive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909343)

Not just your average dog, but trained dogs, untrained dogs, oddly intelligent dogs, near-suicidally stupid dogs.

adding a few more:
These are clapping dogs, rhythmic dogs
Harmonic dogs, house dogs, street dogs
Dog of the world unite
Dancin' dogs
Yeah
Countin' dogs, funky dogs
Nasty dogs (Dog)

Atomic dog

It's about time, we can learn from other species. (3, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#39909465)

I think this is a very good idea and there should be lots of research in this area. If we discover that animals have thoughts similar enough to ours then we will have to give them rights. Depending on how complex the thoughts they might require person status.

This would at least in theory suggest we will need to consider animal rights when making political or economic decisions. Dogs in specific if they could communicate with us could completely change the relationship humans have with them.

Although I'm going to be honest I don't expect talking dogs anytime soon.

Re:It's about time, we can learn from other specie (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39909617)

That is a good argument if you want to convince people *not* to encourage this research.

Re:It's about time, we can learn from other specie (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#39909931)

That is a good argument if you want to convince people *not* to encourage this research.

The research is already being done encouraged or not. If you want to encourage it then you'll have to find some military application for it.

Re:It's about time, we can learn from other specie (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#39910349)

How much of a vote should a dog get? 3/5 a person? Which candidate would a dog vote for? How would this affect the 2012 U.S. elections, if rights for dogs were immediately implemented as you suggest? What would you imagine that Bo, Obama's neutered male Portuguese Water Dog, would have to say to the other dogs of America? What would this new voting constituency have to say about Obama's dog-eating habits? These are serious questions that you raise with your thoughts about dogs getting rights, and they deserve serious answers.

It's simple: BACON (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909495)

At least at dinner time: Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Bacon. Are those Sausages? Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Bacon...

uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39909519)

Is this tax-funded?

Didn't they write a book called Dog Dreams? (1)

DrStoooopid (1116519) | about 2 years ago | (#39909649)

I always thought that would be a short book.....Bone, fire hydrant, chase cat, chase mail man, chase car, poop in the floor, wag tail, sleep, repeat.....

It has already been decoded. (3, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#39909949)

An aspiring entomologist, named Gary Larson, had already published a short paper on what dogs hear. Unfortunately I don't have a link but it goes something like this:

You: Stupid dog Bingo, Why did you do that Bingo? Should you always shred the paper like this Bingo? How can I read it now Bingo! You dimwit Bingo!

Dog hears: xxxxxx xxx Bingo, xxx xxx xxx xxx xxxx Bingo? xxxxx xxx xxxxxx xxxxx xxx xxxxx xxxx xxxx Bingo? xxx xxx X xxxx xx xxx Bingo! xxx xxxxxx Bingo!

Vomit! (2)

kid_wonder (21480) | about 2 years ago | (#39909969)

I forget which comedian this was from:

"What would your dog say if it could talk? Probably 'You know, vomit really ain't half bad!'"

Simpsons beats FMRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910293)

This leash demeans us both.

They already talk (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#39910431)

But dogs can already talk. I swear, here's an absolutely true conversion I had with my dog:

Me: "Sparky, what's on top of a house?"

Dog: "Roof!"

Me: "Sparky, how does sand-paper feel?"

Dog: "Rough!"

Me: "Sparky, who is the best baseball player of all time?"

Dog: "Ruthf!"

Pretty much... (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | about 2 years ago | (#39910685)

Dogs are pretty easy to read:

If you have food:
DROP THE FOOD! Oh PHULLEEZZZ drop the foooooddd!

If you have beer:
SPILL THE BEER! Oh PHULLLEEZZZ drop the beeeer!

If you're leaving:
STAY WITH MEEEEE.. Oh PHULEEZZZZ stay with meeee!

When you're returning:
OH BOY! You're HEEERRRREE!

Cats are even easier:
Are you food yet?

Steak Steak Steak Chicken Whiz Poop (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 years ago | (#39910819)

That's pretty much what my dogs think, apart from Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit sniff sniff sniff Rabbit Rabbit sniff

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