Charlotte Talks: Inside The Minds Of Dogs

Dec 6, 2017

Wednesday, December 6, 2017  

Scout, taking a break after a few laps at Freedom Park, enjoys waking up "Charlotte Talks" producer Chris Miller well before his alarm.
Credit Chris Miller / WFAE

Brain research isn’t just for humans. Dr. Gregory Berns has been using it to get inside the minds of dogs. Mike Collins asks what they're thinking.

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

Getting inside the mind of a dog is Gregory Burns’ focus of research. For five years, Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, has pioneered the use of fMRI technology as a window into canine cognition.

What has he learned? That our dogs really love us, and not just because we feed them. They not only experience emotions, but their emotional process is similar to humans’. Dogs, he says, are people, too.

Berns hopes his research, which is outlined in his latest book, What It’s Like to Be a Dog, will change the way we think about dogs, and recognize their rights - a concept that Berns acknowledges is a long way off.

This show originally aired  Sept. 26, 2017  

GUEST

Dr. Gregory Berns, author of What It's Like to Be a Dog; director of Emory University's Center for Neuropolicy and Facility for Education & Research in Neuroscience (@gberns)

Producer Erin Keever's dogs. Moki, left, got her 15 minutes of fame on Japanese TV for falling asleep on an air duct. Oppie still receives more attention when out and about.
Credit Erin Keever / WFAE