People Love Dogs More Than Other Humans!
2 November, 2017
We love our dogs like our kids and would do anything for them. In fact, sometimes we like our dogs better than other people. As it turns out, a new study finds that we humans are more empathetic towards dogs than other humans!
A new study revealed that people are more empathetic to dog than humans
A study published in the journal Society and Animals revealed that people are more empathetic towards dogs than fellow humans. In an experiment, 240 students were presented with fake newspaper clippings of a police report either about an attack on a person, or on a dog. The purpose was to determine whether people were more emotionally disturbed by reports of humans or dogs suffering abuse.
Participants were given a fake report of a person or dog being hurt
In the fake report, the victim was attacked “with a baseball bat by an unknown assailant,” and was left unconscious “with one broken leg” and “multiple lacerations.”
Participants were each given the same report with the victim being either a one-year-old baby, a 30-year-old adult, a puppy, or a six-year-old dog. Then they were asked about how they felt using questions to measure their levels of empathy.
The participants had the most empathy for dogs, puppies and infant babies
The team hypothesized that the vulnerability of the victims which was determined by age, rather than species, would be the most important factor in participants’ levels of distress and concern. As it turns out, the empathy levels for the puppy, older dog, and baby human were on similar levels, while the adult person came last. The adult dog only received lower scores of empathy when compared to the infant human victim.
It seemed as if the feelings of empathy are related to the helplessness of the victim. One reason why adults attacked by baseball bats might elicit less sympathy is that we tend to partially blame the victim, researchers said.
The study revealed that the adults viewed dogs as their family members!
The participants did not view their dogs as animals, but rather as ‘fur babies,’ or family members alongside human children,” showing how people often think of their pets as part of the family. This is because we see dogs as part of the family, rather than just pets.
Co-author of the study, Jack Levin, said: “It appears that adult humans are viewed as capable of protecting themselves while full grown dogs are just seen as larger puppies.”
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