According to a study published in the Society & Animals journal, humans are way more empathetic towards dogs than fellow humans.
In the experiment, study authors Jack Levine, Arnold Arluke and Leslie Irvine had 256 undergraduate students at “a major northeastern university” read fake newspaper clippings of police reports detailing a person or dog that was attacked with a baseball bat and left unconscious with a “broken leg” and “multiple lacerations.”
The same fake report was given to all students with just one differing aspect — the victim. Participants either had the victim listed as a one-year-old baby, a 30-year-old adult, a puppy or a six-year-old pooch. After reading the clippings, students were asked how they felt about the scenario by study officials.
To no surprise, participants were more upset about the puppy, dog and the one-year-old baby being hurt than they were about the grown adult, according to Business Insider. The six-year-old dog only received lower empathy scores when compared to the baby.
“Respondents were significantly less distressed when adult humans were victimized, in comparison with human babies, puppies and adult dogs,” researchers noted in the study. “Only relative to the infant victim did the adult dog receive lower scores of empathy.”
“Subjects did not view their dogs as animals, but rather as ‘fur babies,’ or family members alongside human children,” the study added.
But wait, there’s more!
A study conducted by a UK medical research charity also proved that humans prefer dogs over people, the Guardian reported.
In the British study, researchers set up two fake donation campaigns — one for a child and the other for a dog — and posed the question: “Would you give 5 pounds to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?”
In the separate ads both subjects were named “Harrison.” And just like that, researchers found that people were more willing to donate funds to animal charities than to help “children with fatal diseases.”
The UK medical research study was set up as an online advertising campaign for Harrison’s Fund, a charity that raises money for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy.