In the past, scientists have only been able to study dogs’ psyches by observing their external behavior. But now, Doctor Gregory Berns of Emory University is monitoring canine cognition firsthand using a custom-made MRI machine in his living room. According to The New York Times, Berns’ research has already revealed a marked similarity between dog and human brain function, specifically in the caudate nucleus—the region of the brain associated with happiness. Berns reports that these findings indicate the depth of animal intelligence and emotion, and notes that it should convince people to treat animals with greater equality. “We can no longer hide from the evidence,” writes Berns in his NYT opinion piece. “Dogs, and probably many other animals (especially our closest primate relatives), seem to have emotions just like us. And this means we must reconsider their treatment as property.”
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