Humans can have more empathy for dogs than their two-legged friends- study | Sunday Observer

Humans can have more empathy for dogs than their two-legged friends- study

Nov 2: The research, involving 256 undergraduates, examined whether people were more emotionally disturbed by reports of humans or dogs suffering abuse.

Participants in the study were given fictitious news reports about an unprovoked attack “with a baseball bat by an unknown assailant”.

“Arriving on the scene a few minutes after the attack, a police officer found that the victim had a broken leg, multiple lacerations and unconscious,” it said.

Different versions of the report had the victim of the attack as either a one-year-old infant, a 30-year-old man, a puppy or an adult dog.

The students were then asked questions to indicate their degree of empathy for each of the victims.

“Respondents were significantly less distressed when adult humans were victimised, in comparison with human babies, puppies and adult dogs,” the researchers said.

“Only relative to the infant victim did the adult dog receive lower scores of empathy.”

They added: “Subjects did not view their dogs as animals, but rather as ‘fur babies’, or family members alongside human children.” The researchers found that the vulnerability of victims, mainly determined by their age, was a significant factor.

 

They said: “The main effect for age but not for species was significant. We also found more empathy for victims who are human children, puppies, and fully-grown dogs than for victims who are adult humans.”

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.”

The study, by researchers from the Northeastern University, Boston, was published in the Society & Animals journal.

Telegraph .co.uk 

Comments

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.