Interacting with dogs boosts humans' brain waves linked to well-being: study


A new study suggests that playing and engaging in certain activities with dogs can significantly enhance a person's brain waves associated with relaxation, concentration and emotional stability.

Key points:

  • South Korean researchers conducted a study involving 30 adults and found that specific activities with dogs can lead to increased brain wave activity linked to relaxation, emotional stability, attention, concentration and creativity.

  • Researchers believe the interactions could be added to traditional therapy approaches for managing mental health and well-being.

The details:

  • Previous studies have explored the emotional, physiological and cognitive benefits of interacting with dogs, which have mostly focused on people’s mood or hormone levels before and after spending time with the animal.

  • The new study, led by Konkuk University doctoral student Onyoo Yoo, investigated how specific activities with dogs affect mood and brain activity.

  • Published in the journal Plos One, the research involved 15 men and 15 women who engaged in activities such as meeting, playing, feeding, massaging, grooming, photographing, hugging and walking with a trained poodle for three minutes each. Brain wave measurements were taken during each activity using electroencephalogram tests.

  • Playing and walking with the dog were found to increase alpha-band oscillations, indicating a state of relaxation and stability. Meanwhile, grooming, massaging and playing were associated with strengthened beta-band oscillations, reflecting improved attention and concentration.

  • The findings suggest that incorporating specific dog activities into animal-assisted interventions (AAI) could offer therapeutic benefits for mental health, complementing traditional therapy approaches.

Why it matters:

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  • The study has helped researchers better understand the positive benefits associated with dog companionship and could guide the design of more effective AAI programs aimed at promoting health and well-being.

What's next:

  • According to the researchers, they have successfully laid the groundwork for further exploration of using dog interactions for therapeutic applications. Further research is needed to confirm the validity of their findings and explore the potential applications of canine interactions in mental health interventions.


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