Monday, September 7, 2015

Dogs Have Co-opted Our Physiology to Win Our Hearts

Photo by Roberto Ferrari at Wikimedia Commons.
Why do we feel genuine love and friendship for our dogs? The social relationship between humans and dogs is not just special, it is downright AMAZING! Domestic dogs are the only species that we know of that will spontaneously respond to cooperative human gestures, such as pointing or gazing in a specific direction, without any training or prior experience. Wolves and even non-human great apes require extensive experience with people to understand these human gestures. Dogs, on the other hand, are so naturally in-tune with our gestures that they, like human children, are likely to interpret eye contact as communicative, even when it is not. New research has found that eye contact between ourselves and our canine companions may fuel an interspecies physiological feedback loop that keeps our two species living as best friends.

Today at Accumulating Glitches, I am exploring new research about how our four-legged best friends change our brain physiology so we will love and care for them more. Check out the full story here


And this is why we love our dogs so much:


Further reading:
MacLean, E.L. and Hare, B. Dogs hijack the human bonding pathway, Science, 438:6232, 280-281 (2015). DOI: 10.1126/science.aab1200

Nagasawa, M., Mitsui, S., En, S., Ohtani, N., Ohta, M., Sakuma, Y., Onaka, T., Mogi, K.., and Kikusui, T. Oxytocin-gaze positive loop and the coevolution of human-dog bonds, Science, 438:6232, 333-336 (2015). DOI:10.1126/science.1261022

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