Do you love dogs? Or do you know someone who does? We can already see you nodding your heads.
It comes as no surprise that the bond between humans and dogs transcends all scientific laws. From time to time, stories keep popping up about pet-owners who went to the absolute extremes just to ensure that their pets were safe. Verily, their connection is far beyond just platonic.
But we have some good news for all pet lovers. A new research from Northeastern University, Boston, hints that human-animal relationships might actually be more tangible than the first thought.
They suggested that the human-dog friendships are even stronger than human-human friendships, and we’re not that surprised.
The co-authors worked on 240 test subjects of ages 18 to 25 and worked out the magnitude of their empathy towards a dog, a child, and an adult.
It came as no shock when a dog’s and a child’s suffering incited more empathy as compared to that incited by the story of an adult’s suffering.
The research was headed by the Brudnick Centre on Violence and Conflict situated at the Northeastern University in Boston.
Jack Levin, along with co-author Arnold Arluke, initiated this study on human empathy and found some breathtaking results.
240 test subjects of all genders approached Levin and Arluke, aged between 18 and 25. The professors gave the subjects fictional news to read about various subjects being beaten – an adult in their 30s, a toddler, a 6-year-old adult dog, and a puppy.
The fake article shared the story of an attack on the subject, stating that a policeman found them with a broken leg, deep lacerations, and in an unconscious state. The article also went on to state that the perpetrator was not yet caught.
The study found that the puppy and the toddler received more sympathy than the adult.
The experts are of the view that human empathy extends further for animals and children as we deem them helpless and innocent.
Levin said that the study might suggest that humans consider adult dogs dependant and helpless just like their juvenile counterparts, which might not always be true. Additionally, adult humans are pictured as more independent and capable than children, while adult dogs are just viewed as bigger puppies.
Levin and Arluke believe that this biased empathy extends to all animals, like cats and rabbits.
Of course, for us dog lovers, the study is most likely not surprising. This just proves what we knew all along!
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