They measure the reactions of the brains of dogs and cats using a new method to see if they give a specific response to more complex stimuli.
Professor Laurie Parkkonen’s team at Aalto University has been developing quantum optical sensors for years to measure the brain’s magnetic fields using a technique known as magnetoencephalography (MEG). Use. Quantum optical sensors can be placed directly on the surface of the head, allowing for more accurate examination of magnetic fields in the brain.
The dog’s measurements are distorted
Parkkonen and his team plan to use the new method of measuring brain activity in cats and dogs to learn about the complexity of temporal structures in sensory stimuli that the cat and dog brains can follow.
We also perform video recordings during MEG measurements, which facilitate identification and removal of interfering signals from head movements.
Similar human experiments have found that our brains only give a specific response to differences in complex structures if we pay attention to stimuli and perceive the differences.
The dogs’ brain activity has already been measured using an electroencephalogram (EEG), but the muscles around the skull distort the EEG, so the data was not accurate.
Different voices, different moans?
In the lab, cats and dogs hear repeated sound sequences with randomly different sequences. The big question is whether the brains of cats and dogs also generate cerebral responses to differences in tone patterns (as in the human brain) and whether distraction reduces these responses, as in humans.
Although the first experiments will be done on cats, dogs will follow, and the ultimate goal will be to measure the brains of children.
The new method is also remarkable because, based on the researchers’ experience to date, it is difficult to make brain measurements of cats and infants because they are unable to focus on visual stimulation for long while they are able to measure brain reactions – dogs do.
(Cover Image: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
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