A survey of 240 young men and women has found that adult human crime victims receive less sympathy than do adult dogs, puppies, and human children. In fact, age was shown to be the most important determining factor when it came to sharing sympathy with a crime victim. “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,” said Jack Levin, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University.
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In the survey, individuals were given fake news reports of crimes against one of four victims: a one-year-old child, an adult in his thirties, a puppy, and a 6-year-old dog. The stories were identical except for the victim’s identify. After reading their story, respondents were asked to rate their feelings of empathy towards the victim. “We were surprised by the interaction of age and species,” Levin said. “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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