Do you ever wonder if your dog can recognize your face from a picture or out of a crowd?
New studies have shown unfortunate results because even though dogs can look into our eyes and know who we are, they might not be able to process faces as much as humans do. Knowing a face is a critical part of communication for humans, whereas, in a dog’s brain, species preference is the only thing that’s determined.
This study comes from JNeurosci and suggests that the canine visual system is organized a bit differently in comparison to a human’s. The known face network which is found in humans and primates, might not be found in all mammals. This facial network can activate specifically to most features and faces, which aren’t always clear to dogs. Scientists have compared the brain activity of humans and dogs, and have noticed greater areas of activity in humans over dogs, which show a preference for facial features.
On the other hand, a dog’s brain showed high levels of activity in terms of determining species, which humans don’t utilize as much. From there, dogs used species preference to understand the human’s role in their lives. Dogs’ brains would also trigger more excitement in seeing another dog, over seeing a human. This has nothing to do if a dog likes you or not, and circles back to the idea of species preference. An interesting detail that a dog’s brain can pick up is the back of someone’s head.
A dog’s brain can see the back of someone’s head and immediately know it’s a human, whereas human brains had trouble picking out other people’s heads. It’s believed that this trick goes along with the species preference that dogs have. Nonetheless, your dogs do know your face, but maybe not as well as we had hoped.