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Study: People have more empathy for dogs than humans

Sunday - 8/18/2013, 1:00pm  ET

People feel more empathy with dogs than they do with other humans, according to a study. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - No wonder they're called man's best friend. It seems that some people can show more caring for dogs than they do for their own species.

A new Northeastern University study uncovers the compassion people can feel for dogs.

People feel more empathy with dogs than they do for other humans, according to the study. However, people feel the same amount of empathy for children as they canines, the study adds.

In the study, a group of young people were told fictional stories about either an animal, child or adult being beaten. The respondents then shared how much they cared about each of the subjects of the story.

The results showed the suffering of the dog and the child got more empathy than the suffering of the adult subject.

Researchers say the deeper care comes in the perceived vulnerability of the dog and child.

But don't worry cat lovers: while the study tar­geted dogs, researchers say the findings would be similar for cats as well.

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