Graduation Year

2016

Date of Submission

4-2016

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Mark Costanzo

Rights Information

© 2016 Kari K B Linder

Abstract

We classify animals into a few distinct groups: companion animals (pets and strays like dogs and cats), utility animals (animals that serve a purpose like cows farmed for dairy or meat or foxes farmed for fur), and wild animals (nondomestic animals in their natural habitat). This study will investigate empathic relationships between people and animals of these four types in two abuse scenarios (active abuse and neglect). These factors were manipulated in a 2x4 experimental design. I expect a closer relationship with humans will correlate with a higher degree of empathy for the victim such that homed companion animals will generate the most empathy, followed by stray, utility, and finally wild. Results supported this hypothesis to an extent. This research is intended to bridge gaps between empathy towards humans and empathy towards other animals. If we can manipulate the degree to which people tend to relate to animals by varying our descriptions of these animals, we can also manipulate people’s desire to protect them.

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