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A comparison of empathy for humans and empathy for animals
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7839-7245
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7839-7245
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4225-8718
2011 (English)In: Anthrozoos, ISSN 0892-7936, E-ISSN 1753-0377, Vol. 24, no 4, 369-377 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although there is a substantial body of research on inter-human empathy and inter-animal empathy, there is a dearth of research comparing humans’ empathic reactions to humans and animals. To address this issue, three experiments were conducted in which participants read a scenario about a human or animal abuse victim in need of medical attention, and indicated the degree of empathy they felt on an emotional response scale. In Experiment 1, women felt significantly more empathy for animals than humans, whereas men tended to express more empathy for humans than for animals. In Experiment 2, adult women expressed the same degree of empathy for a child as for a puppy. Similarly, in Experiment 3, adult men and women expressed the same degree of empathy for a baby as for a puppy. Overall, results indicated that people feel at least as much empathy for animals as for humans. We suggest that an animal target elicits a great deal of empathy partly because it is perceived as not being responsible for having caused the need situation. Future research will show whether empathy felt for animals translates to prosocial behavior toward them as well.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 24, no 4, 369-377 p.
Keyword [en]
Empathy compassion animals dogs
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-20867DOI: 10.2752/175303711X13159027359764ISI: 000297567300002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-80054739523OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-20867DiVA: diva2:639458
Available from: 2013-08-07 Created: 2013-08-07 Last updated: 2017-01-25Bibliographically approved

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Angantyr, MalinEklund, JakobHansen, Eric
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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • de-DE
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  • nn-NO
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