Science Shows Similar Love Between Moms and Their Babies, Dogs
Many people describe their dogs as their 'kids.' But a new scientific study out of the Massachusetts General Hospital for Comparative Medicine showed early signs that mothers feel a similar bond with their dogs as the bond they feel with their babies.
The new study used fMRI imaging to scan the brains of mothers as they looked at pictures of their dogs and their children. The scans showed that the same areas of the brain were activated when looking at both their dogs and their children. This included reward centers in the brain.
The study was intended to be a first step into understanding how and why dogs can have such a profound impact on a person's physical and mental health. Veterinary director Lori Palley wanted to really understand what goes on neurologically when people are exposed to dogs.
While the study results don't mean that mothers love their pets as much as they love their babies, it is an important first step into understanding the science behind the human-dog bond.
The study did find some interesting differences between how the mothers' brains reacted to dogs and babies. One region of the brain that is associated with bonding was only activated by the photo of the child. On the other hand, another brain center associated with facial recognition was more activated with the photo of the dog.
Do you think you love your pets as much as your children?
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