Humans and dogs have interacted for millennia. As a result, humans (and especially dog owners) sometimes try to interpret dog behaviour. While there is extensive research on the brain regions that are involved in mentalizing about other peoples’ behaviour, surprisingly little is known of whether we use these same brain regions to mentalize about animal behaviour. In this fMRI study we investigate whether brain regions involved in mentalizing about human behaviour are also engaged when observing dog behaviour. Here we show that these brain regions are more engaged when observing dog behaviour that is difficult to interpret compared to dog behaviour that is easy to interpret. Interestingly, these results were not only obtained when participants were instructed to infer reasons for the behaviour but also when they passively viewed the behaviour, indicating that these brain regions are activated by spontaneous mentalizing processes.
|Publication Title||PLoS One|
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