We have known for a long time that most humans are not immune to the captivating charm of dogs.
Apparently, some humans even adore dogs more than many humans. At least, that’s what new studies have shown.
The saying that the dog is man’s best friend sometimes seems like an exaggeration. After all, it’s just a pet … or maybe not? We take care of them, we feed them and according to science, we do it because we really love them. They are part of the family and arouse our sympathy. According to a study we even love them more than other people.
Sociologists and anthropologists at Northeastern University and the University of Colorado wondered why the level of outrage and response is sometimes higher when an animal is mistreated or tormented than when similar human scenarios occur. So, they decided to do a test, and the results were… interesting.
According to this study, the researchers provided 265 college students with a fake news report. They were told to read the report and tell how they felt about a brutally beaten adult or child compared to a dog or puppy.
Students were found to empathize with dogs more than adult humans, with study notes they read: “We also detected more empathy for victims who are human children, puppies, and adult dogs than for victims who are adult humans. Age makes a difference in empathy for human victims, but not for victims if they are dogs, “says the report.
So, it turns out, at least in this group, people’s emotions played a different chord depending on humans versus dogs. But why did they feel more empathy for our four-legged friends than for a human being?
“Many people may view dogs as more vulnerable, regardless of age, compared to adult humans,” the study says. “In other words, dogs, whether young or adult, are considered to possess many of the same qualities associated with human babies, they are considered unable to protect themselves, compared to adult humans.”
The study results did not surprise animal behavior coach Russel Hartstein, who told I Love My Dog So Much, “Dogs give unconditional love, and many times people form stronger bonds with their pets than with another human being.”
Well, we personally can’t say that this surprises me that dogs arouse more empathetic reactions among humans.
A study published in Scientific Reports found that the reason for that connection we feel with our dogs has to do with expressions and gestures. Dogs make various faces while attention is being paid, but only to humans. In the past it was considered to be pure chance and they did it unconsciously, but this is not the case. It seems that domestication has changed our pets and that is why they are prepared to respond to us, even with gestures.
Were you surprised by the results of the study?