Neural processes of vocal social perception: Dog-human comparative fMRI studies

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Abstract

In this review we focus on the exciting new opportunities in comparative neuroscience to study neural processes of vocal social perception by comparing dog and human neural activity using fMRI methods. The dog is a relatively new addition to this research area; however, it has a large potential to become a standard species in such investigations. Although there has been great interest in the emergence of human language abilities, in case of fMRI methods, most research to date focused on homologue comparisons within Primates. By belonging to a very different clade of mammalian evolution, dogs could give such research agendas a more general mammalian foundation. In addition, broadening the scope of investigations into vocal communication in general can also deepen our understanding of human vocal skills. Being selected for and living in an anthropogenic environment, research with dogs may also be informative about the way in which human non-linguistic and linguistic signals are represented in a mammalian brain without skills for language production.

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