Sunday , 23 June 2024
Home Neuroscience Pet Ownership Boosts Men’s Empathy Towards Animals
Neuroscience

Pet Ownership Boosts Men’s Empathy Towards Animals


Summary: Men who own pets exhibit higher empathy towards animals compared to farmers and non-pet owners. The study analyzed responses from 91 men, highlighting the significant impact of pet ownership on empathy levels.

Researchers emphasized the importance of human-animal interactions in developing empathy, particularly in males. The findings suggest that caring for pets, without financial motives, is most influential in fostering animal empathy.

Key Facts:

  1. Men who own pets show higher levels of animal empathy compared to farmers and non-pet owners.
  2. The study included 91 participants from three groups: farmers, pet owners, and non-pet owners.
  3. Interactions with animals in adulthood significantly shape beliefs about animal sentience and cognition.

Source: James Cook University

James Cook University researchers investigating men’s empathy towards animals have found higher levels in men who own pets versus farmers and non-pet owners.

The study is published in Animal Welfare.

Dr. Jessica Oliva is a senior lecturer in psychology at JCU. She said it was well established that women felt more animal empathy (AE) than men.

She said the men were asked what they think has influenced their beliefs about how animals think and feel. Credit: Neuroscience News

“Compromised abilities to feel empathy in men can have devastating effects on both animals and humans alike. Animal abuse was committed by almost half of all male perpetrators of intimate partner violence, according to studies of a US population.

“So increasing our understanding of the role human-animal interactions play in the development of AE has far-reaching implications, particularly in males,” said Dr. Oliva.

The team analyzed 91 responses from three groups of adult men—farmers, pet owners and non-pet owners.

Dr. Oliva said animal empathy levels differed significantly between groups, with those in the pet ownership experience group demonstrating higher AE levels than the other two groups.

She said the men were asked what they think has influenced their beliefs about how animals think and feel.

“Even though the majority of the farmers were university educated, textbook knowledge of animal biology, sentience, and/or cognition was endorsed least by this group, suggesting that they rely more upon their own personal experiences,” said Dr. Oliva.

She said all three groups displayed evidence that interactions with animals in adulthood were most influential in shaping their beliefs about how animals think and feel.

“However, our results support the idea that not all experiences are worth the same, with the adult responsibility and sacrifice involved in caring for animals, without the expectation of financial gain, appearing to be most influential to the development of animal empathy,” said Dr. Oliva.

About this empathy research news

Author: Jessica Oliva
Source: James Cook University
Contact: Jessica Oliva – James Cook University
Image: The image is credited to Neuroscience News

Original Research: Open access.
Support for the ‘Pets as Ambassadors’ hypothesis in men: Higher animal empathy in Australian pet-owners vs non-owners and farmers” by Jessica Oliva et al. Animal Welfare


Abstract

Support for the ‘Pets as Ambassadors’ hypothesis in men: Higher animal empathy in Australian pet-owners vs non-owners and farmers

Human empathy towards non-human animals (Animal Empathy; AE) has shown a strong gender bias, with women demonstrating higher levels than men.

This study aimed to investigate the influence of animal experiences on AE in a male-only sample.

It was hypothesised that there would be different levels of AE between men with experiences caring for pets, men with experience in animal agriculture, and men with limited animal experiences.

Ninety-one Australian men (18yrs+) completed an online survey evaluating their level of AE using the Animal Empathy Scale (AES). Additionally, they were asked what in their experience they think has influenced their beliefs about how animals think and feel.

As expected, AE levels differed significantly between groups, with those in the pet ownership experience group demonstrating higher AE levels than the other two groups. All three groups displayed high endorsement for direct interactions with animals in adulthood as being most influential in shaping their beliefs about how animals think and feel.

However, our quantitative results support the idea that not all experiences are worth the same, with the responsibility and sacrifice involved in pet caring appearing to be most influential to the development of AE.

These findings have implications for the importance of human-animal interactions in understanding animal sentience and the development of AE in males.



Source link

Related Articles

Beyond Serotonin: Scientists Are Finally Unlocking the True Mechanism of Antidepressants
Neuroscience

Beyond Serotonin: Scientists Are Finally Unlocking the True Mechanism of Antidepressants

In a groundbreaking study, scientists are delving deeper than ever into the...

These Signs of Memory Loss Could Actually Predict Alzheimer’s Brain Changes
Neuroscience

These Signs of Memory Loss Could Actually Predict Alzheimer’s Brain Changes

Early memory loss, often dismissed as benign aging, might be more than...

Neuroscience

Snoring Tied to High Blood Pressure Risk

Summary: Regular snoring, especially in overweight middle-aged men, is linked to elevated...

New Findings: Air Pollution’s Surprising Effect on Heart Risk for Cancer Patients
Neuroscience

New Findings: Air Pollution’s Surprising Effect on Heart Risk for Cancer Patients

Scientists have unveiled unexpected insights: air pollution exacerbates heart disease risks in...