View Full Version : Humans Have More Empathy For Dogs Than They Do For Other Humans

Saturday, November 11th, 2017, 01:00 PM
A new study confirms that humans love dogs more than they love their fellow humans. According to science, it’s because people see dogs as helpless.

According to two new studies, we’re more likely to empathize with struggling dogs than with struggling people. Medical research charity Harrison’s Fund conducted an experiment two years ago to test whether people were more likely to donate money to help dogs or humans, and they concluded it’s the former.

This idea was conjured up and backed up by another recent study into human-dog empathy, which concluded that we get more upset by stories of dogs being beaten up or hurt than humans going through the exact same treatment.

The researchers’ experiment was actually quite simple. They printed two advertisements, both of which posed the question: “Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?” The only difference between the ads was the picture. One featured Harrison as a little boy, the other featured Harrison as a dog. And it was Harrison the dog who received the most donations.

This in no way is to say the empathy for animals is a bad thing. But what about our fellow human beings? A second study backed up what the Harrison Fund discovered.

This time, researchers Professor Jack Levin and Professor Arnold Arluke, from Northeastern University in Boston, gave 240 participants one of four fake newspaper reports. The articles described an attack “with a baseball bat by an unknown assailant.” It went on: “Arriving on the scene a few minutes after the attack, a police officer found the victim with one broken leg, multiple lacerations, and unconscious.”

But in each version, much like the Harrison Fund’s experiment, the victim in each image was different. This time, there were four different victims. It was either a one-year-old infant, a 30-year-old adult, a puppy or a six-year-old adult dog. The report, published in the journal Society & Animals, reveals that participants were asked to describe their emotions using standard questions to measure empathy.

The participants who’d read a story about a child, dog, or puppy measured similar levels of empathy, but the human adult provoked less of a response, The Times reports. “Respondents were significantly less distressed when adult humans were victimised, in comparison with human babies, puppies, and adult dogs. Only relative to the infant victim did the adult dog receive lower scores of empathy,” the researchers said.

Researchers say that this shows that humans think of dogs as family members. “Subjects did not view their dogs as animals, but rather as ‘fur babies’, or family members alongside human children,” they wrote. It could also mean that a human will express more empathy if they feel the victim is more helpless and unable to care for themselves.http://www.renegadetribune.com/humans-empathy-dogs-humans/

Gareth Lee Hunter
Saturday, November 11th, 2017, 03:30 PM
That entirely depends on who the "humans" are to me. But humans are far more in control of their environment than are other forms of life, especially domestic animals that are dependent on humans for survival; much the same as small children.

Saturday, November 11th, 2017, 09:32 PM
I suppose it is because the puppy looks more innocent and baby like than the child/adult. Also, animals cannot defend and take care of themselves, so they generate a more emotional and altruistic response. An adult person doesn't always necessarily need help to prosper.

Monday, November 13th, 2017, 08:50 PM
I dislike most dog species and pretty much all (domestic) cat species, but I can say I empathise with animals in general far more than I do with the vast majority of humans. Animals just do what is in their nature. Humans are practically severed from their nature in most cases. Horrendously overpopulated, hopelessly consumerist, extremely gullible and impressionable, physically weak and lazy and genetically degraded, greedy destructive and a plague upon the natural environment, I really have little sympathy for humans as a collective, certainly not toward those who aren't interested in reducing their needs and moving closer to their natural environment. This applies to Europeans and non-Europeans alike, if anything there are whole areas of other continents populated by other tribes that I empathise with and respect a lot more simply because they are more tribalist, more self-sufficient and less corrupted.

When stuff like terrorist attacks happens in the urban cesspits of western civilisation, I find it hard to care that much anymore. Mass animal cruelty, factory farming etc disturbs me a lot more.

That said I do agree with points raised by Pentti Linkola in his essays on environmentalism in which he was basically ranting against animal rights and "conservation" groups being more concerned with individual animals' suffering and with protecting domesticated (and very harmful) cats than they are with proper environmentalism as a whole.

Herr Rentz
Friday, July 6th, 2018, 06:54 PM
Humans Have More Empathy For Dogs Than They Do For Other Humans
That is not at all surprising. Dogs are innocent and are instinctive and will love you unconditionally and serve you well if they are trained properly.