Speech naturalness detection and language representation in the dog brain

Abstract

Family dogs are exposed to a continuous flow of human speech throughout their lives. However, the extent of their abilities in speech perception is unknown. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test speech detection and language representation in the dog brain. Dogs (n = 18) listened to natural speech and scrambled speech in a familiar and an unfamiliar language. Speech scrambling distorts auditory regularities specific to speech and to a given language, but keeps spectral voice cues intact.