If you’re someone who loves dogs more than people, you’re not alone—apparently all of mankind has that same bias.
New research shows that people are more moved by dogs suffering compared to humans suffering, after a study concluded that battered dogs drew more empathy than abused people.
According to scientists, we may prefer the (let’s face it) more adorable species because animals give us the impression of helplessness.
Basically, Fido seems less likely to defend himself than John Doe can.
The test was run by describing a report about an attack ‘with a baseball bat by an unknown assailant’ and each time the victim changed.
Professor Jack Levin and Professor Arnold Arluke, from Northeastern University in Boston compiled the reactions of 240 human test subjects who received one of four fictional news articles.
The victim changed in each article, which read:
Arriving on the scene a few minutes after the attack, a police officer found the victim with one broken leg, multiple lacerations, and unconscious. No arrests have been made in the case.
One of the articles was about the beating of a one-year-old child, while another documented the abuse of an adult male in his thirties. The other two? A puppy and a six-year-old dog.
The difference in empathy between child and puppy was ‘statistically non-significant’, but the dog garnered more sympathy than the adult, researchers found.
The researchers said:
Respondents were significantly less distressed when adult humans were victimised.
Professor Levin announced during the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association:
The fact adult human crime victims receive less empathy than do child, puppy, and full-grown dog victims suggests adult dogs are regarded as dependent and vulnerable not unlike their younger canine counterparts and kids.
In addition, it appears that adult humans are viewed as capable of protecting themselves while full-grown dogs are just seen as larger puppies. These are animals [including cats] to which many individuals attribute human characteristics.
The research was backed by a UK medical research charity, which staged two phoney donation campaigns – one for a dog and the other featuring a man. Guess which one got more contributions?
That’s right. The goodest one.
The campaign for a man named “Harrison” asked:
Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?
But it’s not like these canines haven’t earned the top spot in our hearts. Stories of loyal dogs doing adorable things for their owners, along with the vast ocean of hilarious dog videos all over social media, makes you see why we humans appreciate their company.