In news headlines that go along with ‘the sky is blue’ and ‘grass is green’, a recent study was published in the Society and Animals journal that suggests people care more about animals and their pets than they do other humans.
We probably could have told them that, without all of the expensive research involved.
The study was conducted by Jack Levin and Arnold Arluke from Northeastern University, and they wanted to know the why behind why people sometimes cared about dogs more than humans.
They took a group of 240 students and asked them to describe their level of ‘empathy’ during a situation of abuse. The victims of abuse varied between adult humans, children, and animals. This wasn’t real abuse or even video, don’t worry. The researchers created fake news articles about each situation that they asked the participants to read.
The research duo admitted that there were a lot of factors, including the age of the participant, that played into the results. However, it appears that the participants of the study had the least empathy not for the animals, but the adults who were victims.
The results for the children and pets were about the same, which makes the researchers think that it is their innocence and inability to protect themselves that cause that empathetic reaction. It doesn’t help that most people treat their pets like members of their family, so any potential abuse is distressing.