Neuroscientist tries to get into dogs' minds to see how they think

Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University, tells "GMA" about his experience working with nearly 100 dogs to find out if they really are man's best friend for his new book, "What It's Like to Be a Dog."
4:01 | 09/13/17

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Transcript for Neuroscientist tries to get into dogs' minds to see how they think
What do you guys have? Well, talking about dogs. We're going to find out what it's like now to be a dog. That is a new book from Dr. Gregory Berns from Emory university down in Atlanta. Dr. Berns, thanks for joining us. What's it like to be a dog? Well, the bottom line is it's very much like being a human but without the words to tell us what it's like to be a dog. Ah. Seriously? So and you're saying one of the things that actually got you into this, this whole idea of do the dogs really like us or do they want us for our food? Yes, so what I've been doing for the past five years is I've been training dogs to go into an mri machine because they can't talk to us so I want I wanted to do see what they're thinking by actually looking at what's happening inside their head. And the first thing that we did was to see whether they liked us just for food or whether they actually had something like love for us and what we found was that the majority of the dogs like praise and just talking to them like, saying, hey, good girl, good boy as much if not more than food. Realliy I'm so surprised. Have you this book. "What it's hike to be a dog." You really do believe that my dogs, it's me not the food? I'm so excited. Well, wait a minute. I don't know you or your dog so one of the interesting things is -- You might be different, I guess. It's definitely me. Me. They're like people. Dogs are like people. They're different so all the dogs are different. Just like people. Yeah. Yeah. But, doctor, one thing, I talk to my dog and I'm like my little boy, and I look really silly doing it, do they understand when we talk to them because I think he and I have a great verbal relationship. Well, that's the million dollar question that we really want to know is what they understand and everything that we're finding shows that they understand some things. They're really good at linking words with actions like sit and stay and fetch but they don't really seem to understand that words represent objects or names. And so my own dog, cali, for example, I'm not even sure that when I call her cali that she links that word with a sense of self. It could just be I better look at the person who made that. But the bottom line is you say dogs are like humans. They have feelings. They really do love us? Please tell me yes. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I dent want to Ned a therapy session. I'm going to read your book, doctor. Thank you very much. "What it's like to be a dog." I love that. I love this idea. Your dog loves you. Don't you guys -- I know you don't have more than one dog but do you have different voices for your dog? Do you actually do their voices. Oh, look at George. Oh. That's cooper. Yeah. What does cooper sound like? Cooper is a very eager southern gentleman. He's a very polite southern gentleman. He's got a southern accent. Daisy our dachshund. Oh, boy. Is just mean. She's like -- She's haughty and fancy. I think it's the breed. I had a dachshund. Yeah, there she is. Look at her. She's like get off my bed. That's so funny. Nice sheets, George. Daisy has nom nice sheets. I'm sorry. I think this soups amazing. I can't wait to read it. I'm really -- Sounds like you need to. So needy right now. I am. One of her dogs died this weekend -- I'm feeling particularly needy. And there's nobody who loves her for fur babies more than this woman right here. Her rescues. So thank you, thank you to Gregory Berns and thank you for

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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