Who do you feel more empathy towards – a brutally beaten adult or a brutally beaten dog?
According to a recent study published in the journal Society & Animals, people are more empathetic towards dogs and puppies than their fellow humans.
Two hundred and fifty-six undergrads at a major university participated in the study.
During the study the students were presented with fake newspaper clippings of a police report where the victim was attacked “with a baseball bat by an unknown assailant” and was left unconscious “with one broken leg” and “multiple lacerations.”
The victims in the attack were either a one-year-old baby, a 30-year-old adult, a puppy, or a six-year-old dog.
Participants were then asked a series of questions about how they felt about each of the individual attacks in order to measure their levels of empathy.
Researches hypothesized that the vulnerability of the victims – determined by age, rather than species – would be the most important factor in the participants’ empathy levels.
The results of the study proved the researchers’ hypothesis correct, as empathy levels for the puppy, older dog, and baby were on similar levels. As for the 30-year-old adult, well, he or she wasn’t much of a concern.
“Subjects did not view their dogs as animals, but rather as ‘fur babies,’ or family members alongside human children,” the researchers concluded.
Who do you feel more empathy toward? Dogs or people? Let us know in the comments section below!
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