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Hemispheric specialization in dogs for processing different acoustic stimuli.

Siniscalchi M, Quaranta A, Rogers LJ - PLoS ONE (2008)

Bottom Line: The left hemisphere uses learned patterns and responds to familiar stimuli.Nevertheless, conspecific vocalizations are not always processed by the left hemisphere, since the right hemisphere is used for processing vocalizations when they elicit intense emotion, including fear.These findings suggest that the specialisation of the left hemisphere for intraspecific communication is more ancient that previously thought, and so is specialisation of the right hemisphere for intense emotions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Animal Production, University of Bari, Bari, Italy. m.siniscalchi@veterinaria.uniba.it

ABSTRACT
Considerable experimental evidence shows that functional cerebral asymmetries are widespread in animals. Activity of the right cerebral hemisphere has been associated with responses to novel stimuli and the expression of intense emotions, such as aggression, escape behaviour and fear. The left hemisphere uses learned patterns and responds to familiar stimuli. Although such lateralization has been studied mainly for visual responses, there is evidence in primates that auditory perception is lateralized and that vocal communication depends on differential processing by the hemispheres. The aim of the present work was to investigate whether dogs use different hemispheres to process different acoustic stimuli by presenting them with playbacks of a thunderstorm and their species-typical vocalizations. The results revealed that dogs usually process their species-typical vocalizations using the left hemisphere and the thunderstorm sounds using the right hemisphere. Nevertheless, conspecific vocalizations are not always processed by the left hemisphere, since the right hemisphere is used for processing vocalizations when they elicit intense emotion, including fear. These findings suggest that the specialisation of the left hemisphere for intraspecific communication is more ancient that previously thought, and so is specialisation of the right hemisphere for intense emotions.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Schematic representation of the testing apparatus.
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pone-0003349-g001: Schematic representation of the testing apparatus.

Mentions: A digital portable player (Mpio FL 70®) and two speakers (JBL N24AWII®) connected to an amplifier (Yamaha RX-N600®) were used to play sound samples back in the owner's back yard. Each dog was tested with its favourite dry dog pellets in a bowl. The two speakers were placed 2.5 m to the right and left side of the feeding bowl; the speakers and bowl were all in a straight line (see Fig. 1). Two plastic panels (30 cm high, 50 cm in depth) were located on the two sides of the bowl to centre the position of the dog with respect to the speakers and the video recording area during the experiment (Figure 1). Once the dog had commenced feeding, a sound was played at the same time from both speakers. The different sounds were played in random order from the two speakers and the side on which each speaker was placed was alternated. The sounds, were played for 3 seconds at a volume of 60–80 db at the distance of the dog's head from the speakers (measured with a Precision Sound Level Meter, Type 2206, Brüel & Kjær,Nærum, Denmark at 2.5 m from the speakers in a soundproof room) and there was a 1-min interval between each presentation, provided that the dog remained at the food dish. The playback was stopped if the dog stopped feeding. Each dog was tested during a single session of one hour at weekly intervals until a set of 10 playbacks of each sound was achieved. The tester recorded the dog's head-orienting response to the speakers in response to the playbacks using a digital videocamera placed in front of the bowl at a distance of 6 m. Three responses were possible: turn right, turn left and no response if the dog did not turn the head within 5 seconds of playing the sound. The time to resume feeding from the bowl after playbacks was also measured (5 minutes was considered the maximum time allowed to resume feeding).


Hemispheric specialization in dogs for processing different acoustic stimuli.

Siniscalchi M, Quaranta A, Rogers LJ - PLoS ONE (2008)

Schematic representation of the testing apparatus.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2553184&req=5

pone-0003349-g001: Schematic representation of the testing apparatus.
Mentions: A digital portable player (Mpio FL 70®) and two speakers (JBL N24AWII®) connected to an amplifier (Yamaha RX-N600®) were used to play sound samples back in the owner's back yard. Each dog was tested with its favourite dry dog pellets in a bowl. The two speakers were placed 2.5 m to the right and left side of the feeding bowl; the speakers and bowl were all in a straight line (see Fig. 1). Two plastic panels (30 cm high, 50 cm in depth) were located on the two sides of the bowl to centre the position of the dog with respect to the speakers and the video recording area during the experiment (Figure 1). Once the dog had commenced feeding, a sound was played at the same time from both speakers. The different sounds were played in random order from the two speakers and the side on which each speaker was placed was alternated. The sounds, were played for 3 seconds at a volume of 60–80 db at the distance of the dog's head from the speakers (measured with a Precision Sound Level Meter, Type 2206, Brüel & Kjær,Nærum, Denmark at 2.5 m from the speakers in a soundproof room) and there was a 1-min interval between each presentation, provided that the dog remained at the food dish. The playback was stopped if the dog stopped feeding. Each dog was tested during a single session of one hour at weekly intervals until a set of 10 playbacks of each sound was achieved. The tester recorded the dog's head-orienting response to the speakers in response to the playbacks using a digital videocamera placed in front of the bowl at a distance of 6 m. Three responses were possible: turn right, turn left and no response if the dog did not turn the head within 5 seconds of playing the sound. The time to resume feeding from the bowl after playbacks was also measured (5 minutes was considered the maximum time allowed to resume feeding).

Bottom Line: The left hemisphere uses learned patterns and responds to familiar stimuli.Nevertheless, conspecific vocalizations are not always processed by the left hemisphere, since the right hemisphere is used for processing vocalizations when they elicit intense emotion, including fear.These findings suggest that the specialisation of the left hemisphere for intraspecific communication is more ancient that previously thought, and so is specialisation of the right hemisphere for intense emotions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Animal Production, University of Bari, Bari, Italy. m.siniscalchi@veterinaria.uniba.it

ABSTRACT
Considerable experimental evidence shows that functional cerebral asymmetries are widespread in animals. Activity of the right cerebral hemisphere has been associated with responses to novel stimuli and the expression of intense emotions, such as aggression, escape behaviour and fear. The left hemisphere uses learned patterns and responds to familiar stimuli. Although such lateralization has been studied mainly for visual responses, there is evidence in primates that auditory perception is lateralized and that vocal communication depends on differential processing by the hemispheres. The aim of the present work was to investigate whether dogs use different hemispheres to process different acoustic stimuli by presenting them with playbacks of a thunderstorm and their species-typical vocalizations. The results revealed that dogs usually process their species-typical vocalizations using the left hemisphere and the thunderstorm sounds using the right hemisphere. Nevertheless, conspecific vocalizations are not always processed by the left hemisphere, since the right hemisphere is used for processing vocalizations when they elicit intense emotion, including fear. These findings suggest that the specialisation of the left hemisphere for intraspecific communication is more ancient that previously thought, and so is specialisation of the right hemisphere for intense emotions.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus