Improving our knowledge of the functions of dogs’ mind is most valuable because these animals live in our homes and share our life style. To fully understand dogs and other animals we must also have basic information on their emotions. Expanded knowledge of canine neuroscience will improve welfare of dogs living with humans, and comparing mental processing of two species will also help to understand evolution of our own human minds. Finally, humans suffering from mental disorders and other cognitive challenges may also benefit from detailed understanding of the same diseases in dogs.
The domestic dog is a unique animal model in comparative cognition research: dogs have cognitive skills that have not been found in other canine species or nonhuman primates. They are sensitive to human communicative, attentive and emotional cues and they have human-like abilities for visual categorizing and forming representations. At the current multidisciplinary research project, the cognitive abilities and emotional reactions of dogs are examined with an contact-free eye movement tracking and a non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG), the methods widely used in cognitive psychology.