According to the research, “Both contained text that read, ‘Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?’ One version featured a picture of the real Harrison Smith, an eight-year-old boy diagnosed with Duchenne (Muscular Dystrophy). The other featured a stock photo of a dog.
When the ads ran on MSN’s United Kingdom website with links to donate to the charity, the one depicting the dog attracted twice as many clicks as the one with the boy (230, compared to 111).”
Why would people pick pooches over people? The study pontificates: “It may be that many people appraise dogs as vulnerable, regardless of their age, when compared to adult humans. In other words, dogs, whether young or adult, are seen as possessing many of the same qualities associated with human babies; they are seen as unable to fully protect themselves, compared to adult humans.”
Psychotherapist Justin Lioi agrees. “We are more able to empathize with someone whom we deem to have little blame for their circumstances,” Lioi told I Love My Dog. “Dogs and babies are the definition of didn’t-ask-for-this and we are more likely to rush to support them.”
Dr. Kathrine McAleese, a sociologist and systemic psychotherapist, has clients who work extensively with dogs. She said she sees this phenomenon regularly. “People who fit this study’s outcomes will often view animals as innocents and humans as not having the same purity,” McAleese told I Love My Dog. “When I ask them why they will spend money on their dog’s health, fitness, nutrition, yet not on themselves, the overwhelming answer I get is ‘because my dog deserves it.’” Click Open or Arrow Button to Complete Read