It’s a well-known quirk of human nature that adults tend to talk to babies in an over-the-top, cartoony tone of voice. Science calls it “infant-directed speech,” and it’s thought to actually aid infants in picking up on language cues. You might also have noticed that people tend to talk to their pets in a similar manner, but since dogs obviously aren’t on the verge of learning how to speak in a human tongue a team of researchers in the UK wanted to see if there was any real benefit to this strange habit.
As it turns out, humans who engage in “dog-directed speech” (DDS) aren’t just doing it to be cute. Dogs actually seem to prefer it over a more level tone of voice when it is used to say certain dog-relevant words. A new study published in Animal Cognition explains how it all works.
To test whether or not dog-directed speech had any effect on attention the researchers borrowed 37 pet canines from volunteers and ran a series of tests.