We're More Sympathetic to Abused Dogs Than Humans
Study: It's easier to read about a 30-year-old man getting beaten than a puppy
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2013 3:02 PM CDT
A golden retriever puppy named Gibbs attends a news conference at the American Kennel Club in New York,   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – What's harder to watch: An adult human kicking a puppy or an adult human kicking another adult human? Science says: the puppy. A new study has found abused dogs—both puppies and grown-ups—elicit more sympathy than abused adult humans. Abused human kids, however, are equally sympathetic as abused dogs, LiveScience reports. "The fact that adult human crime victims receive less empathy than do child, puppy, and full grown dog victims suggests that adult dogs are regarded as dependent and vulnerable not unlike their younger canine counterparts and kids," says one of the study's researchers.

The researchers at Northeastern University in Boston showed 240 students one of four news articles about a beating—each article was the same except for the victim, which was variously an infant, a puppy, a man in his 30s, or a 6-year-old dog. "We were surprised by the interaction of age and species," says a co-author of the study, per Science Daily. "Age seems to trump species, when it comes to eliciting empathy. In addition, it appears that adult humans are viewed as capable of protecting themselves while full grown dogs are just seen as larger puppies."

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Showing 3 of 32 comments
Aug 13, 2013 8:46 PM CDT
Someone needs to be the voice of the voiceless...
Aug 13, 2013 12:20 PM CDT
Your dogs breath smells like ass and you are already carrying cat parasites. Your dog is pissing on the floor right behind you. Luckily the hag just brought a new pack of glade plugins to cover your disgusting existence.
Aug 13, 2013 11:41 AM CDT
Some studies have found that the IQ of dogs is around that of a Two year old Human. So it would be like feeling more for a two year old child being kicked around than you would feel for some 40 year old drunk in a Texas "Honky-Tonk."