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Study Shows Women May Think Of Dogs As Kids (But You Already Knew That)

Study Shows Women May Think Of Dogs As Kids (But You Already Knew That)

There is a scientific explanation for why you go, “whoooos a little puppy-boo too fuzzroo” to your pup.

In a scientific study done by Massachusetts General Hospital, it was found that when women look at pictures of their dogs, many of the same areas of the brain are activated when they look at pictures of their children.

The researchers, whose full findings are published in open-access journal PLOS ONE, used fMRI technology to scan the brain images of a small group of women who had dogs that had lived with them for at least two years as well as children in the age range of 2 to 10-years-old.

The order in which the pictures were shown. Image via PLOS ONE

The study schematic of the experiment’s design. Image via PLOS ONE

Though the same areas of the brain lit up when the women looked at pictures of their children and their pups (those tied to emotional, reward, affiliation, social interaction and visual processing), researchers were quick to note differences as well.

Brain scans from the study. Image via PLOS ONE

Brain scans from the study. Image via PLOS ONE

The area that is related to bond formation showed activation only when the women saw pictures of their children. However, the facial recognition region did show more response when the subjects were shown pictures of their dogs instead.

The researchers also hope to expand their study to include men, parents with adopted children, and those with none.

So when new pup parents take a series of portraits with their new “baby,” well, it seems there’s a biological reason behind it.
 

The pooch might not appreciate it though. 🙂

Featured Image via Count It Joy Photography

h/t to The National Geographic

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