pastor alemanUn grupo de científicos de Hungría confirmaron una creencia de sentido común sobre los perros: entienden algo de lo que le dicen sus dueños.  A esa conclusión llegó un estudio realizado por investigadores de Hungría que escanearon los cerebros de 13 canes

Los investigadores escanearon el cerebro de perros mientras estos escuchaban hablar a su entrenador con el fin de intentar determinar qué partes de éste estaban utilizando.

El estudio arrojó que los perros procesan las palabras con el hemisferio izquierdo y utilizan el derecho para procesar el tono, tal y como lo hacemos las personas.

Además, los perros sólo registraban que estaban siendo elogiados si las palabras y el tono eran positivos. Cuando se les dijeron palabras sin sentido pero con voz alentadora, o palabras con significado en un tono neutral, no presentaron los mismos efectos.

“Al cerebro de los perros les importa lo que les decimos y cómo se los decimos”, indicó Attila Andics, neurocientífico de la Universidad Eotvos Lorand de Budapest y autor principal del estudio en un correo electrónico. “El elogio puede funcionar como recompensa únicamente si el significado de la palabra coincide con la entonación usada”.

Andics comentó que los hallazgos dejan entrever que la capacidad mental para procesar el lenguaje evolucionó más temprano de lo que se creía previamente, y que lo que distingue a los humanos de otras especies es la invención de las palabras.

Aunque es probable que otras especies también posean la habilidad mental para entender el lenguaje al igual que los perros, su falta de interés en el discurso humano dificulta demostrarlo, comentó Andics.

Los investigadores captaron imágenes de los cerebros de 13 perros valiéndose de una técnica conocida como Resonancia Magnética Funcional o fMRI, por sus siglas en inglés, que registra la actividad cerebral.

Los perros -seis border collies, cinco golden retrievers, un pastor alemán y un crestado chino- fueron entrenados para permanecer inmóviles en el escáner durante siete minutos con el fin de que se les realizaran las pruebas. Los animales estaban conscientes y sin ataduras mientras escuchaban la voz de sus entrenadores por medio de audífonos.

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