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Dog, Cats, and Humans: Shared Emotions Act As “Social Glue”

MARC BEKOFF: ‘In an essay called “Animal Emotions and Beastly Passions: We’re Not the Only Emotional Beings,” I wrote: “Emotions have evolved as adaptations in numerous species and they serve as a social glue to bond animals with one another… This is why a research essay by Bingtau Su and her colleagues called “How Japanese companion dog and cat owners’ degree of attachment relates to the attribution of emotions to their animals” caught my eye…

To conduct their study the researchers used the “Pet Bonding Scale” (PBS)… which is used to study the level of bonding between humans and other animals, and analyzed 546 questionnaires… The researchers learned that “more than half of the respondents reported that they could often or sometimes attribute primary emotions of joy (96.2 percent), surprise (85.9 percent), anger (80.6 percent), fear (75.7 percent), sadness (61.9 percent) and disgust (57.7 percent) and secondary emotions of compassion (73.1 percent) and jealousy (56.2 percent) to their companion animals and [the] emotions of joy and sadness were more frequently attributed to dogs than to cats…

I was really taken in by what the researchers wrote about cross-cultural comparisons early in their essay, because it’s essential to have a more complete picture of what variables might underlie these differences. In Western countries, people living with companion animals attribute diverse emotions to their animals, though more so to dogs. However, in China, a country in which people don’t know much about animal welfare, no such differences have been recorded’. SOURCE…


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