Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

People have more empathy for battered dogs than human adult, but not child, victims

Date:
August 10, 2013
Source:
American Sociological Association (ASA)
Summary:
People have more empathy for battered puppies and full grown dogs than they do for some humans — adults, but not children, finds new research.

People have more empathy for battered puppies and full grown dogs than they do for some humans -- adults, but not children.
Credit: daria_artemyeva / Fotolia

People have more empathy for battered puppies and full grown dogs than they do for some humans -- adults, but not children, finds new research to be presented at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

"Contrary to popular thinking, we are not necessarily more disturbed by animal rather than human suffering," said Jack Levin, the Irving and Betty Brudnick Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University. "Our results indicate a much more complex situation with respect to the age and species of victims, with age being the more important component. The fact that adult human crime victims receive less empathy than do child, puppy, and full grown dog victims suggests that adult dogs are regarded as dependent and vulnerable not unlike their younger canine counterparts and kids."

In their study, Levin and co-author Arnold Arluke, a sociology professor at Northeastern University, considered the opinions of 240 men and women, most of whom were white and between the ages of 18-25, at a large northeastern university. Participants randomly received one of four fictional news articles about the beating of a one-year-old child, an adult in his thirties, a puppy, or a 6-year-old dog. The stories were identical except for the victim's identify. After reading their story, respondents were asked to rate their feelings of empathy towards the victim.

"We were surprised by the interaction of age and species," Levin said. "Age seems to trump species, when it comes to eliciting empathy. In addition, it appears that adult humans are viewed as capable of protecting themselves while full grown dogs are just seen as larger puppies."

Interestingly, the researchers found that the difference in empathy for children versus puppies was statistically non-significant.

As for considering the opinions of 240 college students, Levin said it is common practice to use homogenous samples for studies such as his that center around an experiment. "Unlike survey research, experiments usually employ a homogenous sample in order to establish a cause and effect relationship rather than to generalize a large population," Levin said. "However, there is really no reason to believe that our results would differ very much nationally, particularly among college students."

While the study focused on dogs and humans, Levin thinks the findings would be similar for cats and people as well. "Dogs and cats are family pets," he said. "These are animals to which many individuals attribute human characteristics."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Sociological Association (ASA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Sociological Association (ASA). "People have more empathy for battered dogs than human adult, but not child, victims." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130810063010.htm>.
American Sociological Association (ASA). (2013, August 10). People have more empathy for battered dogs than human adult, but not child, victims. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130810063010.htm
American Sociological Association (ASA). "People have more empathy for battered dogs than human adult, but not child, victims." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130810063010.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program

NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) The New York City Police Department has ended a program that once kept tabs on the city's muslim population. (April 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins