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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Gregory S. Berns; Email: gberns@emory.edu

Authors' Contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments: GB, AB and MS.

Performed the experiments: GB, AB and MS.

Analyzed the data: GB and AB.

Wrote the paper: GB, AB and MS.

Acknowledgments: We are grateful to all of the dogs' owners for the time they have devoted to training: Aliza Levenson (Tigger), Melissa Cate (McKenzie), Patricia King (Kady), Darlene Coyne (Zen), Vicki D’Amico (Pearl), Lorraine Backer (Caylin), Lindsay Fetters (Eli), Nicole Zitron (Stella), Claire Pearce (Libby), Carol Farren (Myrtle), Donna Kelley (Friday), Melanie Pincus (Huxley), and GB's dog, Callie, for being the first.

Mark Spivak is the president of Comprehensive Pet Therapy (CPT).

Disclosures: Gregory Berns and Mark Spivak are founding members of Dog Star Technologies, LLC.

Neither CPT nor Dog Star Technologies had any role in the funding, design, analysis or interpretation of these studies.


Research Funding:

This work was funded, in part, by a grant from the Office of Naval Research (N00014-13-1-0253).

Additional support from the Emory College of Arts and Sciences.

Replicability and Heterogeneity of Awake Unrestrained Canine fMRI Responses


Journal Title:



Volume 8, Number 12


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Previously, we demonstrated the possibility of fMRI in two awake and unrestrained dogs. Here, we determined the replicability and heterogeneity of these results in an additional 11 dogs for a total of 13 subjects. Based on an anatomically placed region-of-interest, we compared the caudate response to a hand signal indicating the imminent availability of a food reward to a hand signal indicating no reward. 8 of 13 dogs had a positive differential caudate response to the signal indicating reward. The mean differential caudate response was 0.09%, which was similar to a comparable human study. These results show that canine fMRI is reliable and can be done with minimal stress to the dogs.

Copyright information:

© 2013 Berns et al.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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