Dogs may elicit more empathy than some people - KLFY News 10

Dogs may elicit more empathy than some people

Updated:
© iStockphoto.com / Ivan Solis © iStockphoto.com / Ivan Solis

SATURDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- People may feel more empathy for dogs than for some of their fellow humans, a new study finds.

When it comes to victims of violence, people may be less disturbed by the suffering of human adults, who are considered capable of taking care of themselves, the study suggests. Meanwhile, children, puppies and full-grown dogs are perceived as dependent and vulnerable.

The study involved 240 men and women. Most of the participants were white college students between 18 and 25 years old.

In conducting the research, Jack Levin, a distinguished professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University, and study co-author Arnold Arluke, a sociology professor at the school, randomly gave one of four fictional news stories to each participant.

The scenarios involved the beating of a 1-year-old baby, an adult in his 30s, a puppy or a 6-year-old dog. After reading the story, the participants rated how much empathy they had for the victim of the attack.

More empathy was shown for the child, the puppy and the adult dog than the adult human, the study revealed. Surprisingly, the participants had about the same amount of empathy for the child as they did for the puppy.

The study is scheduled for presentation Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York City.

"We were surprised by the interaction of age and species," Levin said in an association news release. "Age seems to trump species when it comes to eliciting empathy."

The authors noted the findings would likely be similar if the study had involved cats instead of dogs. As family pets, they said, dogs and cats often are assigned human characteristics.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has more about empathy.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Should Dogs Ride Loose In the Car?

    Should Dogs Ride Loose In the Car?

    Thanks to Dr. Marty Becker of Vetstreet for this articleI’ve done it, and I know better. You’ve done it, and you probably know better too. I’ve written against it and recommended products that will prevent it. But I bet the majority of pet owners still do it. In fact, I know they do.What am I taking about? Letting dogs ride loose in the car, or even worse, letting a dog sit on your lap in the front seat, head happily out the window. Yes, dogs like — make that love! — doing this. And yes, it’s...More >>
    Thanks to Dr. Marty Becker of Vetstreet for this articleI’ve done it, and I know better. You’ve done it, and you probably know better too. I’ve written against it and recommended products that will prevent it. But I bet the majority of pet owners still do it. In fact, I know they do.What am I taking about? Letting dogs ride loose in the car, or even worse, letting a dog sit on your lap in the front seat, head happily out the window. Yes, dogs like — make that love! — doing this. And yes, it’s...More >>
  • Today's Celebrity Pet!

    Today's Celebrity Pet!

    GWEN STEFANI The singer and her pup hit the beach for a day of sun and fun in Marina del Rey, California.More >>
    BETTY WHITE The Golden Girl shares a sweet cuddle with pooch Delilah while attending the Saturday American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.More >>
  • Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month"

    Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month"

    Meet Mandy, a young pit bull terrier mix who is our Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month" for October! Mandy had a bit of a rough start to life but is happy as can be now that she is out of theMore >>
    Meet Mandy, a young pit bull terrier mix who is our Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month" for October! Mandy had a bit of a rough start to life but is happy as can be now that she is out of theMore >>
  • Why Does My Dog...Tilt Her Head to the Side?

    Why Does My Dog...Tilt Her Head to the Side?

    It's a classic dog move: Your pup hears something — a mysterious sound, a smartphone ring, a certain tone of voice — and suddenly her head tilts to one side as if she is contemplating what the sound wantsMore >>
    It's a classic dog move: Your pup hears something — a mysterious sound, a smartphone ring, a certain tone of voice — and suddenly her head tilts to one side as if she is contemplating what the sound wantsMore >>
  • How to Make the Most of Your Visit to the Vet

    How to Make the Most of Your Visit to the Vet

    By Pamela Babcock WebMD Pet Health Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM Taking your pet to the vet? Whether it's a routine appointment or you're checking on symptoms, there are steps you can take to help theMore >>
    By Pamela Babcock WebMD Pet Health Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM Taking your pet to the vet? Whether it's a routine appointment or you're checking on symptoms, there are steps you can take to help theMore >>
  • How to Housetrain Your Puppy or Kitten

    How to Housetrain Your Puppy or Kitten

    ByStephanie Watson WebMD Magazine Reviewed byWilliam Draper, DVM Puppies and kittens aren't like human babies. You can't wait 2 years to start potty training. "With a puppy or kitten you say, "Oh it'sMore >>
    ByStephanie Watson WebMD Magazine Reviewed byWilliam Draper, DVM Puppies and kittens aren't like human babies. You can't wait 2 years to start potty training. "With a puppy or kitten you say, "Oh it'sMore >>
  • Why Does My Cat...Meow So Much?

    Why Does My Cat...Meow So Much?

    Why do cats meow? The reasons change as they grow from kittens into cats. Kittens meow to their mothers when they're hungry, cold, or scared. But once cats get older, they use other vocalizations -- suchMore >>
    Why do cats meow? The reasons change as they grow from kittens into cats. Kittens meow to their mothers when they're hungry, cold, or scared. But once cats get older, they use other vocalizations -- suchMore >>
  • Why Does My Cat...Purr?

    Why Does My Cat...Purr?

    We love to hear our cats purr, don't we? We take it as a sign that our pets are happy, healthy, and well fed. A purring cat is like an acknowledgment that we are doing a good job as a pet owner. But ifMore >>
    We love to hear our cats purr, don't we? We take it as a sign that our pets are happy, healthy, and well fed. A purring cat is like an acknowledgment that we are doing a good job as a pet owner. But ifMore >>
Powered by WorldNow

1808 Eraste Landry Rd, PO Box 90665,
Lafayette LA 70509

Telephone: 337.981.4823
Fax: 337.984.8323
Email: tip10@klfy.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Louisiana, Inc. A Media General Company.