Dogs actually do respond better when their owners use cute ‘baby talk’, study finds

Dogs’ brains are sensitive to the familiar high-pitched “cute” voice tone that adult humans, especially women, use to talk to babies, according to a new study.

The research, published recently in the journal Communications Biology, found “exciting similarities” between infant and dog brains during the processing of speech with such a high-pitched tone feature.

Humans tend to speak with a specific speech style characterised by exaggerated prosody, or patterns of stress and intonation in a language, when communicating with individuals having limited language competence.

Such speech has previously been found to be very important for the healthy cognitive, social and language development of children, who are also tuned to such a high-pitched voice.

But researchers, including those from the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, hoped to assess whether dog brains are also sensitive to this way of communication.

In the study, conscious family dogs were made to listen to dog, infant and adult-directed speech recorded from 12 women and men in real-life interactions.

As the dogs listened, their brain activities were measured using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan.

The study found the sound-processing regions of the dogs’ brains responded more to dog- and infant-directed than adult-directed speech.

This marked the first neurological evidence that dog brains are tuned to speech directed specifically at them.

“Studying how dog brains process dog-directed speech is exciting, because it can help us understand how exaggerated prosody contributes to efficient speech processing in a nonhuman species skilled at relying on different speech cues,” explained Anna Gergely, co-first author of the study.

Scientists also found dog- and infant-directed speech sensitivity of dog brains was more pronounced when the speakers were women, and was affected by voice pitch and its variation.

These findings suggest the way we speak to dogs matters, and that their brain is specifically sensitive to the higher-pitched voice tone typical to the female voice.

“Remarkably, the voice tone patterns characterizing women’s dog-directed speech are not typically used in dog-dog communication – our results may thus serve evidence for a neural preference that dogs developed during their domestication,” said Anna Gábor, co-first author of the study.

“Dog brains’ increased sensitivity to dog-directed speech spoken by women specifically may be due to the fact that women more often speak to dogs with exaggerated prosody than men,” Dr Gabor said.

13 Celebrities That Seem to Have Discovered the Secret of Youth

There must be something rejuvenating in that Hollywood water! That’s a thought we all have in our heads from time to time when looking at pictures of forever fresh stars that seem to not have understood the concept of time. While we count how many new grey hairs grew this month, these celebrities keep on shocking us with the inconsistency of their age and their appearance.

Here at Bright Side, we love following celebrities, especially if it seems like they know the secrets of staying young and fresh forever. There’s definitely something we need to learn from them.

1. Eve, 1992 vs 2019

Eve started her career at a young age and has over 20 years of being under the spotlight. Now she’s 42, and it looks like years haven’t left any marks on her.

2. Gabrielle Union, 2009 vs 2021

The Bring It On and Being Mary Jane star shared that at 48 she has a few rules that boost her glow. She drinks enough water, makes sure she gets at least 8 hours of sleep, and exercises.

3. Queen Latifah, 1987 vs 2020

The Oscar-nominated, Grammy- and Emmy-winning singer and actress turned 51 on March 18. Queen shares that she does eat a lot of vegetables and lean meats, hydrates religiously and thinks that as long as you’re young at heart, your actual age doesn’t really matter.

4. Alicia Silverstone, 1992 vs 2020

The Clueless star, who is 44 years old, says that her diet is the secret to her youth — Alicia is vegan and leads an eco-friendly lifestyle. She shares that once she gave up meat and dairy, she started looking better after just 2 weeks.

5. Jeremy Piven, 2005 vs 2021

The famous American actor and comedian shared that he lifts weights, jumps rope, and does jiujitsu. He also said in an interview that he has been doing yoga for decades and goes for a run when he wakes up.

6. Alfre Woodard, 1995 vs 2020

Alfre Woodard is now 68 years old, but looking at her pictures from the past, it feels like she just changes outfits and hairstyles, but doesn’t age at all.

7. Jamie Foxx, 2004 vs 2021

There is always a question when it comes to Jamie Foxx — how does he still look as young as he did in the 2000s? Back then, when he was 33, he had his own series, The Jamie Foxx Show. Today, he’s 53 and still a popular actor that seems to have found the fountain of youth.

8. Sharon Stone, 2002 vs 2021

The 63-year-old actress shares that her secret of youth is something she took from her mom — she shares that she gave her a jar of moisturizer and told her to clean her skin and moisturize morning and night, and that’s what she does.

9. Bianca Lawson, 1991 vs 2019

Bianca Lawson has played teenagers on-screen since 1993 and it’s really no surprise why. The Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Pretty Little Liars star is 42, but you can’t tell since her glowing skin looks like it’s ageless. Bianca shares that she prefers natural sweeteners to sugar and tea to coffee and believes that youth is a mentality, so to stay young you have to reduce stress and enjoy life.

10. Alicia Keys, 1997 vs 2021

The 40-year-old singer not only looks young and fresh, but she also manages to look younger than her years without wearing heavy makeup — she advocates for embracing natural beauty and actually has incredible skin. Her routine includes jade rolling, oils, and cucumber pulp.

11. Elizabeth Hurley, 2001 vs 2021

Today the British model is 54 years old, but in her latest Instagram posts, she legitimately looks like a girl in her 20s. And though it looks effortless, she does put a lot of effort into it. Her methods are hydration, a balanced diet, and workouts. For example, Elizabeth does squats while brushing her teeth and considers gardening her main form of exercise.

12. Helena Christensen, 1998 vs 2020

It’s hard to believe, but the famous supermodel turns 52 this year, showing her flawless body on her Instagram account. Helena shared that in Denmark, where she’s from, people are taught to not hide anything when it comes to what nature gave them.

13. Janet Jackson, 1998 vs 2020

The music legend turned 55 in May and it seems like 20 years have left no marks on her face. Jackson doesn’t really share her secrets to staying young, though she mentioned that she has a mostly plant-based diet, doesn’t eat meat, and that she has a long-term relationship with fitness.

What’s your secret to staying youthful? We’d be happy to see your comments in the section below.

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Preview photo credit John Mathew Smith / Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 2.0janetjackson / instagram

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