Empathy, while it’s a necessary trait to have to be able to put yourself in another’s shoes and be a pretty decent human being, seems to be lacking in the world at the moment…
And new studies have confirmed something a lot of us have noticed for a while now, and we’re not sure how to feel about it.
According to new studies, research has revealed that humans have MORE empathy for dogs than their fellow human beings.
The Northeastern University, Boston, study (published in the Society & Animals Journal), which involved 256 undergraduates, examined if people were more emotionally disturbed by reports of dogs or humans who had suffered some form of abuse.
The study participants were shown fictitious news reports of unprovoked attacks “with a baseball bat by an unknown assailant.”
The report said, "Arriving on the scene a few minutes after the attack, a police officer found that the victim had a broken leg, multiple lacerations and unconscious.”
Different versions of this news report were handed out, where the victim was either a 30-year-old man, a one-year-old infant, a puppy and an adult dog.
Participants were then asked questions to show the degree of empathy they held for each of the victims.
"Respondents were significantly less distressed when adult humans were victimised, in comparison with human babies, puppies and adult dogs," the researchers said.
"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."
Thus, when it comes to the research findings, humans have more empathy for babies, puppies, and adult dogs, over adult human beings.
"The main effect for age but not for species was significant. We also found more empathy for victims who are human children, puppies, and fully-grown dogs than for victims who are adult humans.
"It appears that adult humans are viewed as capable of protecting themselves while full grown dogs are just seen as larger puppies."
While the vulnerability factor of victims was understandable in determining the degree of empathy, we really hope that we start to show more empathy for our fellow peers!
Put yourself in another’s shoes, treat others the way you want to be treated, and know that everyone deserves a fair go!
The lessons our parents taught us are more important now than ever before.