We all know someone who has more in common with their dog or cat than they have with other people. What’s causing this confusing paradox? Researchers at Northeastern University wanted to do more research into this and found a number of people who felt more compassion for dogs than for other people. This is especially correct when there is abuse involved.
A website dove deeper into what the researchers shared about this issue. Here, we share this with you so you can understand why you have so many feelings for your pet.
What did the study look like?
The study was presented in Society and Animals and was done by Jack Levin and Arnold Arluke. They wanted to understand why some people had more feelings for dogs than other people. The focus of the experiment was on the abuse of dogs and other people. It looked at when people reacted more disturbingly.
According to the research, the age of the victim was very important on the feelings of the participants. Examiners were surprised, however, that the breed of dog was also a decisive factor in the reaction to the abuse of the dog.
The method used
To better understand the phenomenon, 240 students were asked to indicate the level of empathy in unusual situations where an adult person or child was hit with a baseball bat or where a puppy or adult dog was hit with a baseball bat. These scenarios were reported as fake news. Those who read the story about the child, the puppy and the adult felt more fear than those who only read the story about the adult person.
Why people appreciate their pet more
The authors of the study concluded that humans were more likely to be disturbed by animals in pain than when humans were in pain. The reaction changes when the person experiencing the physical pain is a child. This can be caused by people thinking that animals are more vulnerable than humans, regardless of the age of the pet. Adults, however, have the ability to protect themselves. This may be one of the reasons why test subjects feel more empathy for animals. Another reason may be that people often see their pet as a small baby and an important part of the family.
From the study, it can be concluded that the age of the victim is an important factor when people see the abuse of another person. However, this is not important for dogs or other pets. The study also showed that people showed more empathy when the victim was unable to defend themselves.
Although many people have a close relationship with their pet and even claim to have a better relationship with their pet than with other people, it cannot be determined whether a feeling of stress is always the reaction when animals are the victim. Opinions about this can vary from person to person and can therefore be very contradictory. What do you think about this study? If you had to make a choice between saving a person or an animal, what would you choose? Let us know in the comments.