Humans Show More Empathy for Dogs Than Their Peers!

by Trevor Page

A new study conducted by Northeastern University (Boston) shows evidence that humans feel more empathy with dogs than they do towards similarly aged people!

While to us pet parents and animal lovers, this might not be surprising at all, it is still an interesting study. The research considered the results of 240 men and women, mostly white, between the ages of 18-25. They were told fictional stories about either an animal, a child or an adult being beaten. (I know I know, a little rough, but hey, they’re trying to create results on empathy here!)

They then asked subjects to share how much they cared about each subject, with the suffering of the dog and the children eliciting far more empathy than that of the adult subject.

The results prove that people care mostly about the vulnerability of the target of the abuse. Animals and small children are, in my opinion, “voiceless victims” which might have respondents feeling less empathy towards their peers based on the idea that “they could defend themselves, potentially, whereas the dog and the child cannot.”

The following is the more uplifting part, that I chose to share on a few radio show interviews.

Do you, a friend, or a family member have a baby? Think about this while i tell a story: recently at a holiday dinner, my cousin was sitting at the dinner table with his 14 month old daughter. There were about 10 of us at the table, and we came to realize that none of us could take our eyes of the baby. We were absolutely enamored with her! 

Its been proven that when we lock eyes with a baby or an animal, our brains release oxytocin, which is a chemical responsible for bonding and feelings of love. I believe this to be an instinctual reaction: people are drawn in to babies and animals, we don’t want to leave their side which makes it easier for us to bond and care for animals or children that cannot care for themselves adequately.

I think its different for men and women, when i first got my puppy, Bowie, I looked at him and immediately felt like it was my job to protect him! Whereas my girlfriend at the time said she had an overwhelming desire to nurture and coddle him.

Think about how you felt on that special day you brought your puppy home: Did you feel drawn to him or her, was it an intense feeling?

This story was featured on several radio shows: - The Mary Jones show, part of The talk of Connecticut radio. 

NEWS RADIO 740 KTRH from Houston, Tx:   Read the article here!

NEWS RADIO 550 KTSA in San Antonio, TX:

Lansing, MI News Radio 1320WILS: Listen here! Show with Michael Cohen