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Women Think Of Their Dogs As Children, Research Confirms


Scientists have proved that the same brain structures are activated in women when they see their furry friends and their children – females really think of their dogs as their children.

Researchers have analyzed women who have both a child and a dog and even discovered that some areas of the brain responded more to pictures of their pets than their kids.

Lori Palley of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), who led the research, explained the importance of owning a dog.

‘’Pets hold a special place in many people’s hearts and lives, and there is compelling evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that interacting with pets can be beneficial to the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of humans.’’

The research enrolled women with at least one child between 2 and 10 years of age and one dog that has been their pet for two years or more.  The first session consisted of a home visit during which participants completed multiple questionnaires, including those dealing with their relationship with both their child and their dog.  Children and dogs were also photographed during those visits.

The second and final session included participants looking at photographs while laying down in a MRI scanner.

‘’Several previous studies have found that levels of neurohormones like oxytocin – which is involved in pair-bonding and maternal attachment – rise after interaction with pets, and new brain imaging technologies are helping us begin to understand the neurobiological basis of the relationship, which is exciting.’’

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