Have you ever been accused of loving your pets more than you love another person? If so, you’re not alone – most of us treat our pets like our family, after all. It only makes sense we love them like that.
But two researchers from Northeastern University wanted to know why, so they set out to see if they could find some answers.
The Study Itself
The study has 240 students reading fake news articles about the abuse of animals, children, and adult humans. The participants are then asked to gauge their empathy for the victims of the abuse and describe why they feel that way.
The results are shocking to literally no one that owns a pet.
Children and Pets Rank Same
While the age of the student made the determination in how much empathy they felt for the adults, the general consensus is that they felt the most empathy for the animals and children being abused.
The researchers, Jack Levin and Arnold Arluke, have determined that this is probably because these are the victims that can defend themselves the least against an attack. Adults ranked lowest on the deserving of empathy scale because they are seen as most able to defend themselves.
If anyone ever asks why you would rather hang out at home with your pet versus spending time with them, you now have scientific reasoning to back it up!