Saturday, May 16, 2009

What does Fido think and feel?

Scientists at Harvard University's Canine Cognition Lab are studying the the thoughts and feelings of dogs.

Through non-invasive testing, these Harvard scientists are studying a wide range of topics, such as:
  • Are dogs patient?
  • Dog dogs understand fairness?
  • Does Fido recognize that cooperation brings rewards?
  • Can Fido distinguish between accidental and intentional actions?
  • Can Fido understand human language?
All these questions will eventually allow the scientists to decide whether dogs have a capacity for the acquisition of language or whether they exhibit morality.

This article from the Seattle Times explores whether dogs have souls. (We and the reporter think they do.) The article also discusses some interesting scientific discoveries. For example, a happy dog's brain structure shows the same activity as that of a laughing human. You won't hear a "ha ha" from Fido, but will see him rhythmically panting when he's enjoying himself.

We don't need to wait for the empirical evidence to demonstrate what we already know. We agree with Mark Twain: "Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in."

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