For many people, dogs are just another member of their family.
Your four-legged best friend sleeps in bed with you, takes part in your adventures, and maybe even gets fashionable accessories like sweaters or rainboots. In fact, you may sometimes wonder if you love your dog more than other people, especially some of your co-workers. According to a new study, the answer is probably yes.
The findings, published in Society And Animals, discovered that people have more empathy for dogs than they do for other humans. To conduct the experiment, 240 students had to read fake newspaper articles about attacks that either focused on puppies, older dogs, children, or adults. They were then asked to gauge how they felt about reading these pieces.
Researchers found that the students felt the most empathy about the pieces that focused on puppies, older dogs, and children. They cared the least about the stories involving other adults. It should be noted that they did feel more empathy for an infant than they did an older dog.
You have to admit, it’s hard to resist a dog of any age, especially when they look up at you with those big eyes. Sure, you can feel empathy for other people, but then you remember that they’re also capable of replying all on email chains unnecessarily or cutting you off in traffic so….there’s that.
Lauren Levine is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications and websites including The Charlotte Observer, U.S. News & World Report, American Way magazine, The Huffington Post, Hello Giggles, Bustle, Thrillist, Thought Catalog, and others.