Showing posts with label babies versus cats and dogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label babies versus cats and dogs. Show all posts

Saturday 26 August 2023

Men should talk to their dogs like women using baby-talk (this is science)!

Men should have the courage to speak to dog companions as if they are a woman using baby talk communicating with an infant. In that way the dog will better understand them and understand their commands! 

That is the finding of a study (see link below). It found that dogs respond to the kind of intonation and patterns of speech (prosody) employed by women (and of course men sometimes) when communicating with their infant child. 

This is a cross post from my main website. I think that it is interesting enough to post this twice but from a different perspective. In this article I am looking at what men might do to improve their communication with the family dog! They might learn from their female partner.

The video explains it all better than me as the voice over is by the lead researchers I believe

fMRI scans

They used fMRI scans to see how the brain reacted to both men and women talking to dogs in various styles such as adult-speak, dog-speak an infant-speak. They found that if a man spoke to a dog in human adult language the dog would respond less well as their brain would be activated to a lower level that it would be if a woman spoke to the same dog in baby language.

It is the way women emphasise certain parts of their speech, the rhythms and patterns and intonation of their speech when communicating with their young child and the family dog which triggers the dog's brain better than standard adult speech.

Although the emphasis is on women speaking to dogs in an infant language, one can imply from the research that cats would also respond to infant or cat-directed speech using a certain 'prosody'. 

Dog studies

In fact, it is certain that millions of women talk to their cats in exactly the same way that women talk to their dogs. The reason why the research is about dogs is because dogs are much easier to deal with in a research study. It's a typical problem: that there are far more scientific studies about dogs than there are about cats for this reason.


The word "prosody" means speaking in a certain way in which there are certain emphases on certain words and there is a certain pattern and intonation in the language.

Comment: it doesn't surprise me that dogs' brains showed more activity when women spoke to them in dog-directed baby talk because women talk to their babies all the time and more so than men normally. 

They become better skilled at communicating with infants and babies. As they are better skilled in communicating with infants and babies, they are more likely to speak in a way which is understood by the family dog. Dogs are better able to understand commands and requests in infant-directed speech. This is the domain of women normally.

More information: Anna Gergely et al, Dog brains are sensitive to infant- and dog-directed prosody, Communications Biology (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s42003-023-05217-y

Friday 16 June 2023

Pets really ARE fur babies! We love our pets because they remind us of infants, expert says

 We all know it and we don't care! Most of us who are cat and dog caregivers have a relationship with our companion animal which bears a resemblance to the parent-baby/infant relationship. There are some distinct similarities, some of which are listed below in the infographic. 

There are some slightly controversial aspects. The psychopathic tendency argument about cats is understandable but they more often show the opposite; a real connection and warmth.

This is not necessarily comprehensive. Cats and infants make a nice comparison in terms of parental relationships and the cat owner often feels like a parent to a child and it is nice.

People want to be nurturing. It is within most of us. That evolutionary impulse is increasingly be discharged on our pets and not on babies and infants as in the West having babies seems to be going out of fashion among the non-ethnic minorities. Germany has a falling human population as I recall except for immigration which props it up and Russia certainly has a falling human population (no surprise there!).

Pope Francis is concerned that Italians are having pets and not kids. He sees the development as slightly ungodly.

Substituting Dogs and Cats for Children

Dr Burnett, a neuroscientist, said: 'Dogs and cats are small with big heads and eyes, they can't speak, they are often playful, but they depend on us rather a lot.

'We are emotionally sensitive to these traits, because they are just like those of babies, so we want to protect them.'

To a large extent this is a bit of fun. There is one slightly serious side to this topic. There is no harm in treating a cat or dog as a child but caregivers should really respect the animal for what they are to ensure that they have the correct expectations and administer appropriate care.

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