Stroking a dog activates the prefrontal cortex, which processes social behavior and emotions
positive impact on people's mental health . A new study that measured the brain activity of subjects who interacted with real dogs or stuffed animals showed that ``contact with dogs activates the prefrontal cortex (prefrontal cortex) , which is involved in social and emotional processing.'' I was.
It has long been known that interacting with dogs has a
Effects of contact with a dog on prefrontal brain activity: A controlled trial | PLOS ONE
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The improvement of mental health by humans interacting with animals has long been noted, but the neurophysiological correlations of contact with animals are still not fully understood. Therefore, a research team led by Rahel Marti , a psychologist at the University of Basel in Switzerland, asked subjects to interact with a 'dog' or a 'stuffed toy' in various ways, and measured the activity of the prefrontal cortex involved in social cognitive processing. I did an experiment.
In the experiment, 21 healthy subjects over the age of 18, a 6-year-old Jack Russell Terrier , a 4-year-old Goldendoodle , and a 4-year-old Golden Retriever participated in the experiment. The lion stuffed animal 'Leo' was used.
Subjects had a 2-minute session of ``looking at a white wall'', ``looking at a dog or a stuffed animal from a distance of 1m'', ``sleep with a dog or putting a stuffed animal on his thigh'', ``stroking a dog or a stuffed animal'', and ``looking at a white wall'' for 2 minutes. We alternated between one dog and one stuffed animal. The research team measured the activity of the prefrontal cortex during that time with functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) , in which the subject was easy to move and did not make disturbing sounds.
The research team excluded 2 of the 21 subjects due to dropouts and missing data, and analyzed the data collected from the remaining 19 subjects. As a result, it was found that the activity in the prefrontal cortex was greater when interacting with a dog than when interacting with a stuffed animal, and was the greatest during a session of stroking the dog.
In addition, it was confirmed that the activity of the prefrontal cortex increased with each session with the dog, which was a change that could not be seen in stuffed animals. The research team believes that familiarity with dogs and social bonds may affect the activity of the prefrontal cortex.
The research team argues that this discovery may have important implications for therapy with dogs and other animals. But since all of the subjects in the current study were healthy adults, the next step would be to see if dog contact has the same effect on the prefrontal cortex in people with social or emotional problems. The research team says there is.