|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Politics & Religion » Researcher trains dogs to sit still in MRIs, finds interesting results

Default Researcher trains dogs to sit still in MRIs, finds interesting results

October 9th, 2013, 16:30
‘Dogs are people, too,’ researcher says; what are the legal implications of animal emotions?

A researcher who trained dogs to sit still in an MRI says he has reached this conclusion: “Dogs are people, too.”

Emory University neuroeconomics professor Gregory Berns says the MRI evidence may indicate that dogs have emotions, a finding that should spur a re-evaluation of the concept that dogs are property. He discusses his research and his views in a New York Times opinion piece.

The researchers measured activity in a region of the dog brain called the caudate nucleus. In humans, that brain region is associated with positive emotions. When dogs saw hand signals indicating food, or when they smelled familiar people, the caudate activated. Berns says the same type of things that activate the human caudate also activate the dog caudate, suggesting that dogs could have emotions.

“The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child,” he wrote. “We can no longer hide from the evidence. 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.”

One alternative, he says, would be to grant limited personhood status to animals exhibiting neurobiological evidence of positive emotions. People who don’t act as good guardians could lose their animals. Another would be to grant animals the rights of personhood, which could mean that puppy mills, lab dogs and dog racing would be banned for violating the right of self-determination.
http://www.abajournal.com/mobile/art…ations_of_anim

The NYT Opinion Piece referenced:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/op…=pl-share&_r=0

FOR the past two years, my colleagues and I have been training dogs to go in an M.R.I. scanner — completely awake and unrestrained. Our goal has been to determine how dogs’ brains work and, even more important, what they think of us humans.



Multimedia

Video: How Dogs Love Us (YouTube)



Now, after training and scanning a dozen dogs, my one inescapable conclusion is this: dogs are people, too.

Because dogs can’t speak, scientists have relied on behavioral observations to infer what dogs are thinking. It is a tricky business. You can’t ask a dog why he does something. And you certainly can’t ask him how he feels. The prospect of ferreting out animal emotions scares many scientists. After all, animal research is big business. It has been easy to sidestep the difficult questions about animal sentience and emotions because they have been unanswerable.

Until now.

By looking directly at their brains and bypassing the constraints of behaviorism, M.R.I.’s can tell us about dogs’ internal states. M.R.I.’s are conducted in loud, confined spaces. People don’t like them, and you have to hold absolutely still during the procedure. Conventional veterinary practice says you have to anesthetize animals so they don’t move during a scan. But you can’t study brain function in an anesthetized animal. At least not anything interesting like perception or emotion.

From the beginning, we treated the dogs as persons. We had a consent form, which was modeled after a child’s consent form but signed by the dog’s owner. We emphasized that participation was voluntary, and that the dog had the right to quit the study. We used only positive training methods. No sedation. No restraints. If the dogs didn’t want to be in the M.R.I. scanner, they could leave. Same as any human volunteer.

My dog Callie was the first. Rescued from a shelter, Callie was a skinny black terrier mix, what is called a feist in the southern Appalachians, from where she came. True to her roots, she preferred hunting squirrels and rabbits in the backyard to curling up in my lap. She had a natural inquisitiveness, which probably landed her in the shelter in the first place, but also made training a breeze.

With the help of my friend Mark Spivak, a dog trainer, we started teaching Callie to go into an M.R.I. simulator that I built in my living room. She learned to walk up steps into a tube, place her head in a custom-fitted chin rest, and hold rock-still for periods of up to 30 seconds. Oh, and she had to learn to wear earmuffs to protect her sensitive hearing from the 95 decibels of noise the scanner makes.

After months of training and some trial-and-error at the real M.R.I. scanner, we were rewarded with the first maps of brain activity. For our first tests, we measured Callie’s brain response to two hand signals in the scanner. In later experiments, not yet published, we determined which parts of her brain distinguished the scents of familiar and unfamiliar dogs and humans.

Soon, the local dog community learned of our quest to determine what dogs are thinking. Within a year, we had assembled a team of a dozen dogs who were all “M.R.I.-certified.”

Although we are just beginning to answer basic questions about the canine brain, we cannot ignore the striking similarity between dogs and humans in both the structure and function of a key brain region: the caudate nucleus.

Rich in dopamine receptors, the caudate sits between the brainstem and the cortex. In humans, the caudate plays a key role in the anticipation of things we enjoy, like food, love and money. But can we flip this association around and infer what a person is thinking just by measuring caudate activity? Because of the overwhelming complexity of how different parts of the brain are connected to one another, it is not usually possible to pin a single cognitive function or emotion to a single brain region.

But the caudate may be an exception. Specific parts of the caudate stand out for their consistent activation to many things that humans enjoy. Caudate activation is so consistent that under the right circumstances, it can predict our preferences for food, music and even beauty.


In dogs, we found that activity in the caudate increased in response to hand signals indicating food. The caudate also activated to the smells of familiar humans. And in preliminary tests, it activated to the return of an owner who had momentarily stepped out of view. Do these findings prove that dogs love us? Not quite. But many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate. Neuroscientists call this a functional homology, and it may be an indication of canine emotions.



Multimedia

Video: How Dogs Love Us (YouTube)



The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.

DOGS have long been considered property. Though the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and state laws raised the bar for the treatment of animals, they solidified the view that animals are things — objects that can be disposed of as long as reasonable care is taken to minimize their suffering.

But now, by using the M.R.I. to push away the limitations of behaviorism, we can no longer hide from the evidence. 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.

One alternative is a sort of limited personhood for animals that show neurobiological evidence of positive emotions. Many rescue groups already use the label of “guardian” to describe human caregivers, binding the human to his ward with an implicit responsibility to care for her. Failure to act as a good guardian runs the risk of having the dog placed elsewhere. But there are no laws that cover animals as wards, so the patchwork of rescue groups that operate under a guardianship model have little legal foundation to protect the animals’ interest.

If we went a step further and granted dogs rights of personhood, they would be afforded additional protection against exploitation. Puppy mills, laboratory dogs and dog racing would be banned for violating the basic right of self-determination of a person.

I suspect that society is many years away from considering dogs as persons. However, recent rulings by the Supreme Court have included neuroscientific findings that open the door to such a possibility. In two cases, the court ruled that juvenile offenders could not be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. As part of the rulings, the court cited brain-imaging evidence that the human brain was not mature in adolescence. Although this case has nothing to do with dog sentience, the justices opened the door for neuroscience in the courtroom.

Perhaps someday we may see a case arguing for a dog’s rights based on brain-imaging findings.
TL/DR - Researcher finds that dogs have emtional capabilities similar to a 3 year old using MRI, and many primates may as well, so how does that affect their legal standing?

Obviously most dog lovers would say 'no shit', but interesting to see it confirmed by science.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#1

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,089

Default 

October 9th, 2013, 17:01
emotions are one thing, but my brother, who dotes on his dogs, always says 'see, they KNOW what you're saying!"…Now *that*would really be even something…
booboo is offline

booboo

booboo's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch

#2

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 957

Default 

October 9th, 2013, 17:30
IIRC there were some ppl claiming plants also do have emotions which is possible, why not.

Won't say the research is awsome or useless or something as I'm not into that stuff at all. But it proves only one thing: no matter how much we know today, we still don't know sh1t.

Toka Koka
joxer is offline

joxer

joxer's Avatar
The Smoker
RPGWatch Donor

#3

Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6,125

Default 

October 9th, 2013, 17:44
Fascinating research, and yet when all was said and done the main message in my head was, "Oh hell, now PETA's going to take away our pets."

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
Dallas Cowboys: Afraid to hope / / Detroit Red Wings: Another rollercoaster season?
dteowner is offline

dteowner

dteowner's Avatar
Shoegazer

#4

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 11,327

Default 

October 9th, 2013, 18:15
Lol dte, hide them in Cleve's bunker
Pladio is offline

Pladio

Pladio's Avatar
Guardian of Nonsense
RPGWatch Donor

#5

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London, uk
Posts: 3,196
Send a message via MSN to Pladio

Default 

October 9th, 2013, 19:50
C'mon. Anyone who has spent any time with dogs knows they have emotions. Geeze. I wonder how much money this study wasted?

I thought it was pretty common understanding that emotions are a very primitive feature of brains, and is present in most if not all animals?
Thrasher is offline

Thrasher

Thrasher's Avatar
Wheeee!
RPGWatch Donor

#6

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Studio City, CA
Posts: 10,002

Default 

October 9th, 2013, 19:52
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
Fascinating research, and yet when all was said and done the main message in my head was, "Oh hell, now PETA's going to take away our pets."
They are welcome to try. Annabelle would tear their throats out if they tried to seperate her from our family.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#7

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,089

Default 

October 9th, 2013, 19:54
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
C'mon. Anyone who has spent any time with dogs knows they have emotions. Geeze. I wonder how much money this study wasted?

I thought it was pretty common understanding that emotions are a very primitive feature of brains, and is present in most if not all animals?
As a pet owner, I tend to agree, however, I've read about this before and there has always been a distinction between self-aware emotions and reactionary emotions based on empathy or reward. IE - is your dog really happy to see you when you come in, or is it just that his instincts tell him to behave that way so you'll give him treats?

If this research leads to stricter animal cruelty laws and clamps down further on puppy mills, its money well spent IMO.

————————————————-

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
blatantninja is offline

blatantninja

blatantninja's Avatar
Resident Redneck Facist

#8

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 4,089

Default 

October 9th, 2013, 20:06
The info quoted from the articles says nothing about self-awareness. Saying that a dog has emotions doesn't imply it is self-aware. An angry mad dog is automatically human? This is a big stretch…
Thrasher is offline

Thrasher

Thrasher's Avatar
Wheeee!
RPGWatch Donor

#9

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Studio City, CA
Posts: 10,002

Default 

October 10th, 2013, 10:36
Honestly, who cares?

I don't need reciprocation from my dog. If he's happy and safe - then that's enough for me. That's one less being suffering in this world.

Whether he genuinely loves me or not is not the point.

I spoil my dog gladly - and if there's one thing he's not going to miss, it's love and he doesn't have to return it.
DArtagnan is online now

DArtagnan

DArtagnan's Avatar
Waste of potential

#10

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 14,596

Default 

October 11th, 2013, 22:51
There are people out there who believe that they can "sense" whether a dog is happy or not.
Maybe they are not these idiots or freaks after all ?

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#11

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,987

Default 

October 12th, 2013, 02:29
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
There are people out there who believe that they can "sense" whether a dog is happy or not.
Maybe they are not these idiots or freaks after all ?
no, that's pretty much what they are.

as for my dog, he's become co-dependent on my wife.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
Lucky Day is offline

Lucky Day

Lucky Day's Avatar
Daywatch

#12

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Uncanny Valley
Posts: 3,199

Default 

October 12th, 2013, 08:37
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
C'mon. Anyone who has spent any time with dogs knows they have emotions. Geeze. I wonder how much money this study wasted?

I thought it was pretty common understanding that emotions are a very primitive feature of brains, and is present in most if not all animals?
The study (Berns GS, Brooks AM, Spivak M: Functional MRI in awake unrestrained dogs.) was primarily about "the development of behavioral and technical methods to acquire fMRI data in fully awake, unrestrained dogs", not about showing whether dogs have feelings or not. In other words, a study of methodology quite relevant for understanding how the minds of animals wok. (sorry, I mean "work". The typo was probably a freudian slip. Woks and dogs….).

Actually, regarding the findings in the caudate nucleus and it's relation to emotion, the authors write: "the observation of caudate activation to a hand signal associated with reward is not surprising. In fact, had this not been observed, one could rightfully question the feasibility of canine fMRI"

An example of how research and research results presented in media isn't always to-the-point. Not necessarily always a fault of the news, sometimes the researchers themselves readily contribute to it.

pibbur who feels he has feelings.

d++a58e++TU4567'!S'!89!A!WM!LuC++++u+++uF+++nR——nS ++++wC—-o++++wS——uLB++++
Last edited by pibbur who; October 12th, 2013 at 08:51.
pibbur who is offline

pibbur who

pibbur who's Avatar
Number 13

#13

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Bergen, Norway
Posts: 976

Default 

October 12th, 2013, 09:22
a finding that should spur a re-evaluation of the concept that dogs are property.
Hopefully, no emotionless people exist either they could be property.

Regardless, it is another appalling finding. Fear is registered as an emotion. Not yet observed that dogs feel fear?
ChienAboyeur is offline

ChienAboyeur

SasqWatch

#14

Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,107

Default 

October 12th, 2013, 14:37
Problem is, that dogs - and any other animal, that is - cannot be categorized into "human categories" describing emotions.
Yes, even human emotions cannot be fully categorized as being the same in ALL cultures - there are more than enough cultures in which the signal, which is transporting the emotion to the "outer world" is not the same than in other cultures !

One easy example is the head movement of "yes" and of "no".
I haven't experrienced it personally yet, but I've ready that the same head movement indicating "yes" in some cultures means "no" in other cultures.

Of course "yes" and "no" are not emotions , but I've also read of a culture in which people cry tears (?) when there is something important to them, not because they are sad.
And, sadness is an emotion, isn't it ?

Which means, that the failure of the human race consists in trying to apply human categories to animals - and not trying to develop animals' own categories.

But then - how do you categotrize things if you can't be sure how they are transported to the "outside" ?

There is an rare illness which makes people's faces not able to use any muscle at all. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_nerve_paralysis It means that people are unable to transport emotions to "the outer world" by using their face expressions.
Which on the other side makes them appear to be "cold" and "unemotional" - simply, because they are unable to express any emotions by using their face muscles.

I once read an article about the everyday life of such a person. It was very interesting. In it, she stated that she was working really had to get her face muscles working again, and, although an outsider couldn't see any difference, her parents ( ! ) who of course have known her for so long were able to jokingly tease her (she was quoted in that article) by "don't smile that much !"

That means, that her parents were a) able to actually *see" a difference (and that's the usual answer), or / and b) were able to sense her "smiling reaction" by some other way - which is the more esoteric answer, and the one which is usually *heavily* doubted by scientists, because it just cannot be quantified ! There simply don't exist any measuring methods to tell whether a person is actually able to "sense" somehow what kind of feelings other people live through !

Me, for example, I have the problem, that I can feel people over a distance - if they are somewhat "open" and kind of "radiate" their emotions "like a heatwave coming from an heating device). I just don't know how I do it, and I'm SURE, that any scientists would heavvily doubt that I'm able to do that, simply, because it just cannot be measured. And not properly described, too. There simply are no words existing for what I mean. And - "the things for which there are no words don't exist", that's a common mis-conception.

But - this sheds light on another problem of scientific reseach : Everything is ONLY believed nowadays, if it can be measured. If it can be quantitised (spelling ?). If it can be put down into numbers.

Which makes us - and science in general ! - depending more and more on NUMBERS, on direct evidence, than to anbything else.
How is an natural sciences scientist able to put down into numbers how scientists of the Geisteswissenschaften, the historical sciences for example - Archaeology, let's say - are interpreting an ancient text (like the Illiad, or the Oddyssey) ? Can be "interpreting a text" put down into numbers ? Can it be "baked" into an mathematical formula ?

Right now, there are still ways of thinking - and therefore sciences that rather rely on thinking rather than on pure numbers, the "Geisteswissenschaften", like the Literature sciences, or the Historical sciences , or even Philosophy, the Mother Of All Sciences - which are there.

And, this is what I fear will be the next schism in sciences : Those "driven by numbers" vs. those "driven by thinking". Those which are "driven by numbers" will be considered "more worthy" than those "driven by thinking". Current "science-lovers" aka "Sceptics" already do that. They doubt everything that's not put down into numbers. Yes, logic can be reached through pure thinking - but these "science-lovers" don't really like that. Because it doesn't involve numbers. I wouldn't be surprised if they were actually haters of LIterature sciences - simply, because these cannot be quantitized (spelling ?) and not "baked" into mathematical formulae.

We have already had such a Schism : Astronomy vs. Astrology. In ancient times, both were ONE science.
And Astrology - the Science of Interpreting some star things - got thrown out. It is not considered a "Science" anymore.

I fear that the same might or will happen with any of the so-called "Geisteswissenschaften" (according to Wikipedia, this seems to be a term unique to the German language).

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; October 12th, 2013 at 15:03.
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#15

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,987

Default 

October 12th, 2013, 17:58
Alrik, facial paralysis is not a rare condition. It's a common symptom with cerebral infarctions and haemorrhage. Besides, the facial nerve may be affected localy (Bell's paresis, quite often reversible), I've seen it several times. There's nothing strange about it, it's purely an impairment of muscles, along with salive and tear glands.

Mostly the symptoms are unilateral, so emotional expression is possible. It will of course be more difficult with bilateral affection. But they still have other ways of expressing emotions.

As for the importance of numbers in science, that's been the case in the hard sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry) for 200 years or so. Humaniora and the social sciences have developed their own methodology, which occasionally have been frowned upon as long as they've existed. The physicist and Nobel laureate Ernest Rutherford is supposed to have claimed that "The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the 'social sciences' is: some do, some don't”. I don't know exactly when, but he died in 1937, so it was probably before then. In other words nothing new, and the soft sciences are still here. And thankfully, I don't see any sign of them disappearing. Unlike astrology which is not recognized as a science because it isn't a science.

pibbur who because he is a capricorn, don't believe in astrology.

d++a58e++TU4567'!S'!89!A!WM!LuC++++u+++uF+++nR——nS ++++wC—-o++++wS——uLB++++
Last edited by pibbur who; October 13th, 2013 at 09:36.
pibbur who is offline

pibbur who

pibbur who's Avatar
Number 13

#16

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Bergen, Norway
Posts: 976

Default 

October 14th, 2013, 13:51
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
"Geisteswissenschaften" (according to Wikipedia, this seems to be a term unique to the German language).
Humanities

conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evil, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

rational, adj. Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.
-Ambrose Bierce, The Devils Dictionary
peko is offline

peko

Watchdog

#17

Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 117

Default 

October 14th, 2013, 14:34
I think anyone who has had a pet ( well except things like fish ) knows they have this kind of emotions.

But to prove it is something else.

Either way whatever to keep them as pets or not is not the big questions here IMHO, I think the questions should be whatever we should really eat / make clothes from such a beings ?
GothicGothicness is offline

GothicGothicness

GothicGothicness's Avatar
SasqWatch

#18

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,244

Default 

October 14th, 2013, 23:39
And so researchers once again prove what we already know from our experience; dogs are happy to see their owners; they (the dogs, not the owners) react to the smell of their owner with a positive reaction, if not a positive emotion e.g. they, the dogs, dance around as if they're happy to see us. And they are, it seems…

Please support http://www.maternityworldwide.org/ - and save a mother giving birth to a child.
aries100 is offline

aries100

SasqWatch
RPGWatch Team RPGWatch Donor

#19

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Denmark, Europe
Posts: 2,024
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Politics & Religion » Researcher trains dogs to sit still in MRIs, finds interesting results
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 19:21.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch