A professor of neuroeconomics from Emory released findings in an experiment about dogs and their brain functions.
Gregory Berns and his colleagues trained dogs to lie completely awake and unrestrained in MRI scanners to find out what they think of humans.
Three MRI scanning sessions were performed over a period of six weeks.
During an interview with The New York Times, Berns said his team only used positive training methods, no sedation and no restraints.
Berns explained that the dogs were free to leave the MRI scanner if they wished.
Berns and his team found similar brain activity between dogs and humans in an area called the caudate nucleus.
Researchers said they were able to substantiate that dogs experience positive emotions like love and attachment and "a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child".
Berns said the findings showed that we need to stop thinking of dogs as property and begin thinking of them as humans.
"Many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate. Neuroscientists call this a functional homology, and it may be an indication of canine emotions," Berns said.
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