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Q: frontal lobes in dogs ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: frontal lobes in dogs
Category: Science > Biology
Asked by: halek-ga
List Price: $8.00
Posted: 25 Apr 2004 10:14 PDT
Expires: 25 May 2004 10:14 PDT
Question ID: 335930
A buddy asserted that dogs have no frontal lobe activity.  I googled
many combinations of: dog, brain, frontal lobe, activity.  I found
many links that dealt with frontal lobe abnormalities in dogs, which
implies my buddy's statement was false, but would like some links that
more conclusively prove that dogs normally have active frontal lobes. 
I know that this is not actually a question, as such, but please help.
Subject: Re: frontal lobes in dogs
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 25 Apr 2004 17:36 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi halek,

The way to prove dogs normally do have frontal lobe activity would be
to show what happens when they don't have it.  Without normal frontal
lobe activity the following occurs which is described From Frontal
Lobe Syndrome to Dysexecutive Syndrome

"Italy's Leonardo Bianchi (1848-1927) was another early student of the
effects of frontal lobe ablation in monkeys and dogs, and concluded
from his observations that the frontal lobes were more than centres of
attention .....

"The frontal lobes are the seat of coordination and fusion of the
incoming and outgoing products of the several sensory and motor areas
of the cortex" (Bianchi, 1895, p34).

This, of course, was classic encephalisation restated, but Bianchi was
then more precise in 1922, when he summarised the animal studies as
showing five areas of frontal deficit, as follows .....

- Loss of "perceptive power", leading to defective attention and
object recognition.

- Reduction in memory.

- Reduction in "associative power", leading to lack of coordination of
the individual steps leading towards a given goal, and thus to severe
difficulty solving anything but the most simple problem.

- Altered emotional attachments, leading to serious changes in
"sociality" [one of the main aspects of Phineas Gage's post-traumatic

- Disruption of focal consciousness and purposive behaviour, leading
to apathy and/or distractibility [one of the main aspects of Becky's
post-operative behaviour]."


Frontal Lobes

"... and so the frontal lobes became the seat of intelligence

Eduard Hitzig: lesioned frontal lobes in dogs - who forgot where food
was, when they had known where it was only a moment before - so it was
a loss of abstract thought.
David Ferrier: monkeys became dull. Throw a bone and the dog would
run, but forget where the bone was, or why it was running.:
intelligence but: maybe inhibitory - attention was the selection of an
idea or sensation while inhibiting competitive ones.
Leonardo Bianchi lesioned to demonstrate loss of "psychical integrity""


Emotion and Cognition in Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy 
Part 3 of a 5-part paper by Philip Harland

"The sensory inputs we receive every moment of our lives include
'novel stimuli' from external events -- what Goleman calls 'raw
physical signals' - and 'conditioned stimuli' (learned triggers) from
internal events. 1 When Pavlov's dog first heard the bell the stimulus
was novel and unconditioned. As the dog learned to associate the bell
with the appearance of food, the sound created a conditioned stimulus
that itself could prompt the salivating response."


"We can tell mammals have emotions.  Take your dog for instance.  When
you come home, he is happy.  He doesn?t have to tell you that, but
when you come after him with the newspaper, he is not so happy."

"If you are nice to your dog, your dog will be nice to you. 
The primate brain is the front part, the frontal lobes.  These take up
1/3rd of the bulk of the human brain.

Now we know what the Frontal Lobes do, and it can explained in an acronym, CICIL: 

C - Cooperation 
I - Imagination 
C - Creativity 
I - Intuition 
L - Logic 

Animals with small frontal lobes can do some planning.  A tiger can
plan his next move, but not next week."


Dr Pavlov and the Etch A Sketch

"An important discovery by the Russian Nobel prizewinner Ivan Pavlov
holds the key to this. Have you heard of him? In case you haven't,
here it is in a nutshell (and you can find a multimedia explanation by
clicking here):

In brief, Pavlov discovered what we now call conditioning. His famous
experiments with dogs showed some very important things that explain a
lot about how you and I feel.

He knew that if he showed a hungry dog a piece of meat, the dog
salivated. Each time the dog was shown the meat, it drooled. What
Pavlov did next was this: when he showed the dog the meat, he rang a
bell. He did this over and over again. Quite soon, all Dr Pavlov had
to do was ring that bell, and the dog would salivate, with no meat in
sight. The dog's brain now associated the sound of the bell with food.
This is conditioning. Pavlov also showed how such conditioning could
be replaced or removed (extinguished, as it's known."


"This deceptively simple experiment laid the basis for much of modern
psychology. The doctor had shown that a stimulus, such as meat, could
produce a response, such as salivation, and that the stimulus-response
process could be transferred to another stimulus, such as a bell."


"Dr Pavlov had an interesting thing happen to him. Rather, I should
say, his mutts did. Over a weekend, when no one was at the lab, it
rained like crazy. The river rose and inside the kennels the dogs had
water lapping around their muzzles. Scared??!! The poor pooches went

And here's the remarkable thing: when the doctor and his staff came
back on Monday morning, they discovered that none of the dogs would
salivate at the sound of the bell any more.

Like an Etch A Sketch, each conditioned dog had been shaken up
vigorously enough to lose their patterns (a word more or less
interchangeable with rituals..."

Keyword search:

dog frontal lobe
normal frontal lobe activity in dogs
canine frontal lobe activity
dog frontal lobe activity

Best regards,

Request for Answer Clarification by halek-ga on 25 Apr 2004 18:44 PDT
Any chance of finding a normal EEG image of a health dog brain?

Clarification of Answer by tlspiegel-ga on 25 Apr 2004 19:57 PDT
Hi halek,

I noticed in your clarification that you are requesting additional
information that was not included in your original question. I'll
provide additional links for you, but if you would like more in depth
information, I suggest that you post a new question asking for this
addtional information, so that more researchers can try to help you
with the answers.

The following site has several EEG images:


How Dogs Think

"This is not to say that they sit around on quiet days experiencing
videos inside their brains. However, they likely share our ability to
form and experience in their minds certain images, odors and sounds.

The scientific basis for this idea came from Russia and was published
in the US in 1973. A scientist name VS.. Rusinov1 was studying the
electrophysiology of the brain and had several dogs wired with brain
wave equipment and radio transmitters.

When the dogs were brought into the lab from the kennels for
experimental conditioning tests, the electroencephalograph machine was
turned on to record their brain wave patterns. This was done at the
same time each day, five days a week.

One weekend, purely by accident, Rusinov brought a group of visitors
into the lab and turned on the EEG machine. Lo, the dog that was
normally schedule for tests during the week at that time was sending
wave forms nearly identical to his regular working patterns!

When the testing time passed, the dogs' brain waves soon returned to
their normal 'at rest' forms. I never found any mention by Rusinov as
to whether the dogs out in the kennel were actually performing their
conditioned laboratory behaviorisms. Chances are they were not, but
one thing is almost sure; compared to human experience in similar
types of studies, the dogs were apparently experiencing them mentally.

The late Polish scientist, Jerzi Konorski, taught dogs to salivate and
expect food in their trays when a light flickered. This was done
regularly every few minutes. However, after a few trials, the dogs
started salivating and looking at the trays as if the food were
actually there, even though the light had not flickered. Konorski
ventured that the dogs were hallucinating about both the stimulus (the
light) and the reward for salivating (the food). One thing is sure:
Something was going on in the dogs' minds that made them behave as if
they were happening."

Best regards,
halek-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
exceptional work...A+

Subject: Re: frontal lobes in dogs
From: tlspiegel-ga on 25 Apr 2004 22:16 PDT
Hi halek,

Thank you so much for the nice rating, comment and generous tip!

Best regards,
Subject: Re: frontal lobes in dogs
From: andrewxmp-ga on 26 Apr 2004 20:57 PDT
We should note that humans can certainly live without frontal lobes as
well (ex. Phineas Gage, and all those folks who received frontal
lobotomy's back in the day).  They generally jsut had altered/degraded
emotions, personalities, and general cognitive abilities.  It would be
a good idea to ask if we would be able to notice these things readily
in dogs, even if it were a parallell situation.  So, this is probably
a more difficult question to answer than it might appear...

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