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  • Americans care more about Cecil the lion than Syrian refugees

    Quartz - 11/20/2015

    In case you think the idea that Americans care about animals than humans is just incendiary speculation, there’s actual research to prove it. Northeastern University sociologists Arnold Arluke and Jack Levin conducted a study in which subjects read news accounts about a crime wave in Boston. The news story would read something like: “According to witnesses present, one particularly vicious assault involved a one-year-old puppy that was beaten with a baseball bat by an unknown assailant. 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.” There were four variations on the (fake) news story in the study, portraying four different kinds of victims: a puppy, an adult dog, a human infant and a human adult. After reading the news story, subjects would complete a testing scale measuring empathy and emotional distress.

     According to research, Americans care about actual human babies the most, followed by puppies and then adult dogs. Adult humans come in last. The results? According to Arluke and Levin’s research, Americans care about actual human babies the most, followed by puppies and then adult dogs. Adult humans come in last.

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