Animal Studies Bibliography

Wagstaff, G. 1990. Attitudes toward animals and human beings. The Journal of Social Psychology 131(4): 573-575.

Hypothesis : People who have positive and sympathetic attitudes toward other human beings will also have positive and sympathetic attitudes toward animals. (The relationship could go in either direction, and there are examples of people treating other people horribly but loving animals.)

Operational definitions : Animal empathy score (AE) produced by subjects viewing 10 photographs of animals (e.g. piglets in cramped cage, cow in an abattoir) and then rating degree to which they were amused, angered, upset, or pleased by the pictures. Animal welfare (AW) questionnaire measuring beliefs about animal rights issues (use of animals in medical research, etc.). Humanitarian (H) score measuring positive attitudes toward human beings (people are generally kind, etc.). MacDonald's Poverty Scale to measure attitudes toward the poor (and assess whether negative attitudes toward the poor were associated with negative attitudes toward animals).

Findings : People who were more empathetic to the animals in the pictures were more sympathetic to animal rights and animal welfare issues and were more positive and sympathetic toward human beings. People that scored high on empathy for animals, on concern for animal rights, and on humanitarianism were all less negative toward the poor. Women were more empathetic toward the animals in the pictures, but no other variables showed sex differences. The hypothesis was confirmed. Further study might test the hypothesis in cultures where animals enjoy a lower status than they do in the UK.

Sample/population sampled : 45 British subjects, 27 female and 18 male, from various jobs, aged 15 to 60.



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