Have you ever found yourself feeling disgusted about people treating dogs cruelly, whether they're real or not? Cried buckets after a dog dies in a film... More than when a person does? If you have, there's no need to worry. It's a very normal kind of reaction, as a recent study from Northeastern University in Boston has suggested.The American study by sociology professors Jack Levin and Arnold Arluke, seems to show that humans are more distressed by dogs, puppies and children suffering than by adults in the same situation. However, they say that this is also quite logical.
Source: Ark Putney Academy
The scientists got their results from an experiment, during which they presented a panel of people with a fictitious police report. It detailed an incident where, depending on the copy given to the participant, a puppy, a dog, a one-year-old child or an adult had been assaulted with a baseball bat.A description of the injuries - they were found unconscious with a broken leg and multiple lacerations - didn't change. But the reactions of the participants did, depending on the victim.
The researchers found that people reported that they had more empathy for the baby and puppy, followed by the dog with the adult receiving far less distress. For Levin and Arluke, the results suggest that people see dogs, even adult dogs, as being vulnerable and dependent members of their family, like children.In short, we naturally feel more distressed when those we see as vulnerable - a dog who is less able to provoke and fight back than an adult human - being hurt.
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