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What Our Dogs are Thinking

Season 2 - Episode 2 What Our Dogs are Thinking

  • 26 mins
  • Aired September 16, 2020

Dr. Greg Berns is an internationally-acclaimed animal neuroscientist and bestselling author. Berns and his team, whose research has been featured on 60 Minutes and National Geographic, were the first in the world to train and scan the brains of awake dogs in a MRI scanner to learn more about how they think and feel. Berns’ groundbreaking research has explored many fascinating questions: Do our dogs love us? Are they jealous? Can they do math? This episode follows several dogs in Berns’ MRI scanner as their owners learn some of the answers to these questions. His long-term work is focused on finding the part of the dog’s brain responsible for their eternally sunny outlook and their ability to easily make friends.

Watch in Segments

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An Unusual Tryout

3 mins

Greg Berns, MD, holds tryouts for dogs to see who will be able to participate in MRIs to help him learn more about what dogs are really thinking.

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At Home with Dr. Berns

5 mins

At home with Dr. Berns and his dogs. An MRI simulator in the basement of Dr. Berns’ home for training purposes leads to creation of “The Dog Project,” to research evolutionary questions about man’s best and oldest friend.

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What has been Learned from Dog Neuroscience?

7 mins

Dr. Berns’ discusses making the switch from human neuroscience to dog neuroscience and what has been learned. Pet owners are also interviewed at a local dog park in Atlanta to talk about their pets.

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Training for the MRI

2 mins

Classical conditioning (which is the same as Pavlovian Conditioning) and training is conducted before the actual MRI with the dog receiving either food or praise.

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Canine CellMates

3 mins

Learn about Atlanta-based nonprofit Canine Cellmates. This powerful program helps transforms the lives of inmates and dogs.

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MRI Results Revealed

3 mins

MRI results are reviewed from a participant and it’s learned the dog’s brain is more active for the prospect of praise than the prospect of food. Dr. Berns also discusses the important reason of studying dogs and their brains.