Canis familiaris As a Model for Non-Invasive Comparative Neuroscience

Nóra Bunford, Attila Andics, Anna Kis, Ádám Miklósi, Márta Gácsi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is an ongoing need to improve animal models for investigating human behavior and its biological underpinnings. The domestic dog (Canis familiaris) is a promising model in cognitive neuroscience. However, before it can contribute to advances in this field in a comparative, reliable, and valid manner, several methodological issues warrant attention. We review recent non-invasive canine neuroscience studies, primarily focusing on (i) variability among dogs and between dogs and humans in cranial characteristics, and (ii) generalizability across dog and dog–human studies. We argue not for methodological uniformity but for functional comparability between methods, experimental designs, and neural responses. We conclude that the dog may become an innovative and unique model in comparative neuroscience, complementing more traditional models. A shared social environment with humans, cooperativeness, trainability, and advances in awake and non-invasive measurement of neural processes make the domestic dog a promising model of human neurocognition, one that complements traditional models. For the dog to contribute to comparative neuroscience in a relevantly comparative, reliable, and valid manner, methods that allow functional comparability to human methods are crucial. Differences between breeds and species as well as between the designs of canine and human studies confer both methodological advantages and disadvantages. Dogs permit examination not only of a range of sociocognitive skills that share key behavioral and functional characteristics with those of human, but also of the within-species (i) relationship between brain structure and function, (ii) the effects thereof on neurocognition, (iii) within-subject temporal stability of neural measures, and (iv) correspondence of neural correlates with performance across social, emotional, and cognitive paradigms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-452
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Volume40
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2017

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Neurosciences
Dogs
Canidae
Social Environment
Research Design
Animal Models
Brain

Keywords

  • animal model
  • comparative neuroscience
  • domestic dog
  • EEG
  • fMRI
  • non-invasive neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Canis familiaris As a Model for Non-Invasive Comparative Neuroscience. / Bunford, Nóra; Andics, Attila; Kis, Anna; Miklósi, Ádám; Gácsi, Márta.

In: Trends in Neurosciences, Vol. 40, No. 7, 01.07.2017, p. 438-452.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Bunford, Nóra ; Andics, Attila ; Kis, Anna ; Miklósi, Ádám ; Gácsi, Márta. / Canis familiaris As a Model for Non-Invasive Comparative Neuroscience. In: Trends in Neurosciences. 2017 ; Vol. 40, No. 7. pp. 438-452.
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