Dr. Helen

It's Official: Men Are Treated Worse than Dogs

At least that’s how it sounded when I read this study on empathy in the New York Post:

Humans love dogs more than their fellow man.

Two major studies showed that mankind has more empathy for pooches in dire circumstances than suffering people, according to a report in the Times of London.

A UK medical research charity staged two phony donation campaigns — one for a dog and the other featuring a man. Of course, the pooch drew more contributions.

“Would you give 5 pounds to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?” the separate ads said, featuring a canine and human “Harrison.”

Then a Northeastern University study showed that only a baby human could compete with man’s best friend.

Then a Northeastern University study showed that only a baby human could compete with man’s best friend.

Students were shown fake newspaper clippings about a baseball-bat attack on a puppy, an adult dog, a year-old infant and a 30-year-old adult. They were asked questions to gauge their empathy and the adult finished last in sympathy.

“Respondents were significantly less distressed when adult humans were victimized, in comparison with human babies, puppies and adult dogs,” according to Northeastern researchers. “Only relative to the infant victim did the adult dog receive lower scores of empathy.”

The first study says that a man was featured and in the other study, a 30-year-old adult is mentioned at Northwestern. I saw in the Daily Mail version of the same study that this adult was probably male:

Professor Jack Levin and Professor Arnold Arluke, from Northeastern University in Boston examined the opinions of 240 people who received one of four fictional news articles.

‘Arriving on the scene a few minutes after the attack, a police officer found the victim with one broken leg, multiple lacerations, and unconscious. No arrests have been made in the case’, the police report read.

In each example the victim changed.

One concerned the beating of a one-year-old child and a second an adult in his 30s.

The researchers mention that people care more about dogs than adult humans but the face of the victim used is a boy or man. If a girl or women had been used, would the study have come out differently? I believe it would have.

People have less empathy for boys and men in this culture than for a dog –that’s pathetic. So next time you hear someone say “he was treated like a dog,”  you will know that that would be an improvement of the guy’s situation.