Gregory Berns spent his entire life around dogs. So when his most beloved pet passed away, he began to wonder whether his dog reciprocated the same love and care he felt for him. As a neuroscientist at Emory University, he took his curiosity to the test. Now, he scans the brains of dogs using MRI machines, trying to decode canine behavior using brain activity.
image/text credit: Great Big Story
Do dogs experience emotions like people do?To find out, neuroscientist and bestselling author Gregory Berns and his team did something nobody had ever attempted: they trained dogs to go into an MRI scanner—completely awake—so he could figure out what they think and feel.
But dogs were just the beginning. In What It’s Like to Be a Dog: And Other Adventures in Animal Neuroscience, Berns takes us into the brains and minds of wild animals: sea lions who can learn to dance, and dolphins who can see with sound. In a radical experiment in neuroarchaeology, he reconstructs the brain of one of the most mysterious animals in recent history, the Tasmaniantiger, to explain why it disappeared.
Berns’s latest scientific breakthroughs show how similar animal brains are to those of humans and make clear that we can understand what it’s like to be a dog— or a dolphin. He proves definitively that animals have feelings very much like we do—a revelation which forces us to reconsider what animal rights ought to be.