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Dog ownership increases attractiveness and attenuates perceptions of short-term mating strategy in cad-like men


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Men may have evolved to specialize in short-term "cad" and long-term "dad" mating strategies. We hypothesized that dog ownership would increase the long-term attractiveness of men, especially for cads, as this would signal nurturance and suggest tendencies for relationship commitment. Women read vignettes in an experiment with four conditions varying by male mating strategy described (dad vs. cad) and dog ownership (yes vs. no mention). Dog ownership and the dad vignette increased ratings of long-term attractiveness. Higher ratings of long-term attractiveness for cads were mediated by lower ratings of the character on tendencies for a short-term mating strategy.
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Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 11(2013)3, 121–129
DOI: 10.1556/JEP.11.2013.3.2
1789–2082 © 2013 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest
1Ruppin Academic Center, ISRAEL
2School of Public Health University of Michigan, USA
Abstract. Men may have evolved to specialize in short-term “cad” and long-term “dad” mating
strategies. We hypothesized that dog ownership would increase the long-term attractiveness of
men, especially for cads, as this would signal nurturance and suggest tendencies for relationship
commitment. Women read vignettes in an experiment with four conditions varying by male mat-
ing strategy described (dad vs. cad) and dog ownership (yes vs. no mention). Dog ownership and
the dad vignette increased ratings of long-term attractiveness. Higher ratings of long-term attrac-
tiveness for cads were mediated by lower ratings of the character on tendencies for a short-term
mating strategy.
Keywords: costly signal, dogs, life history, male attractiveness, mate selection
Male mating strategies
DRAPER and BELSKY (1990) propose that men have evolved to specialize in either
short-term “cad” or long-term “dad” mating strategies. Cads invest relatively more
effort in mating and less in parenting compared to dads: they are highly competi-
tive, socially dominant, and brave. Such traits make them attractive for short-term
relationships cross-culturally (DRAPER and BELSKY 1990; KRUGER, FISHER and
JOBLING 2003; LI and KENRICK 2006), perhaps because of their phenotypic and be-
havioral features signaling ‘good genes’ (GANGESTAD and SIMPSON 2000). Dads,
on the other hand, invest more effort in parenting and less in mating. They attract
women because they are compassionate, kind, romantic, and industrious, demon-
strating the ability and willingness to invest in the relationship and potential chil-
dren. These traits make them attractive for long-term relationships cross-culturally
2006; SENKO and FYFFE 2010), especially for older women (BRUMBAUGH and
WOOD 2013; TIFFERET and KRUGER 2010).
*Address for correspondence: SIGAL TIFFERET, Ruppin Academic Center, ISRAEL; e-mail:; DANIEL J. KRUGER, School of Public Health University of Michigan,
USA; e-mail:; ORLY BAR-LEV; e-mail:; SHANI
ZELLER; e-mail:
JEP 11(2013)3
The divide between dads and cads could be attributed to individual differences
in testosterone reactivity to challenge (ARCHER 2006). High testosterone is linked
with confidence (DABBS Jr. et al. 2001), dominance (SLATCHER, MEHTA and JO-
SEPHS 2011), multiple mates (POLLET et al. 2011), decreased martial satisfaction
(GRAY et al. 2002), and lower parenting effort (PERINI et al. 2012), which are all
concordant with a cad strategy.
Women would ideally prefer a well-rounded mate with the positive attributes
of both strategies, a man who is both lively and trustworthy, for short- and long-
term relationships (LI and KENRICK 2006; BUSS and SHACKELFORD 2008). How-
ever, there are trade-offs between a mate’s genetic fitness and his willingness to
help in child-rearing (GANGESTAD and SIMPSON 2000). Therefore, it may be diffi-
cult to find well-rounded men, especially for women with an average level of attrac-
tiveness (BUSS and SHACKELFORD 2008).
Dog ownership
The human–canine connection is both ancient (GERMONPRÉ, LÁZNIČKOVÁ-
GALETOVÁ and SABLIN 2012) and widespread (SERPELL and PAUL 2011). Although
the vast majority believe that owning a dog is physically and psychologically bene-
ficial (e.g., EL-ALAYLI et al. 2006; HEADEY and GRABKA 2011; MCCONNELL et al.
2011; WELLS 2009), others argue that this widely held belief is unsubstantiated
(HERZOG 2011). ARCHER (2011) claims that keeping a pet is maladaptive; it is a by-
product of our adaptive social mechanisms that facilitate parental behavior. On the
other hand, owning a dog may be adaptive in signaling a number of traits, although
this claim has not been tested empirically (SERPELL and PAUL 2011). Dog owner-
ship could signal that the man has enough material resources such as time and
money to take care of the dog (SERPELL and PAUL 2011), or that he is dominant
enough for a dog to obey him. It can also signal that the man has empathy and other
emotional resources, allowing him to affectionately bond with another, and to have
a long-term commitment to care (SERPELL and PAUL 2011). Perhaps this is the rea-
son why walking with a dog elicits social responses from bystanders (MESSENT
1984), and even increases the chances that women would give the experimenter
their phone number (GUÉGUEN and CICCOTTI 2008).
Dog ownership should increase attractiveness for long-term relationships, es-
pecially for cads. The main signal transferred by a man owning a dog may be the
potential to care for another. Dads are by definition caring, so dog ownership would
add little signal value to them. Cads, however, are less warm and caring in general
(JONASON and BUSS 2012), so dog ownership may significantly increase their at-
tractiveness for long-term relationships by reducing the perception of these defi-
ciencies. Dog ownership may also increase attractiveness for short-term relation-
ships for two reasons. First, dog ownership may signal physical resources and
dominance. Second, some women view short-term relationships as a means of at-
JEP 11(2013)3
taining a long-term relationship and thus may select a man considered more likely
to make this transition (LI and KENRICK 2006).
In order to explore this phenomenon we devised an experiment in which
women rated male descriptions with or without a dog. This method is superior to
the common methodology of asking the participant which traits they prefer in their
mate, because it can identify unconscious preferences.
H1: Dog ownership will significantly increase short-term relationship attractiveness
H2: Dog ownership will significantly increase long-term relationship attractiveness
(LTA), especially for cads.
H3: Dog ownership will reduce perceptions of high male mating effort (ME), espe-
cially for cads.
H4: Lower perceptions of ME will mediate the relationship between dog ownership
and LTA for cads.
Participants and measures
One hundred Israeli women (age: M = 25.5, SD = 3.35), mostly childless (87%) and
unmarried (70%), rated two vignettes. The vignettes reflected a typical dad and cad
in Israeli culture. In half of the vignettes of each category, the words “owns a dog”
were added.
Each participant rated two vignettes: a cad with a dog and a dad without a dog
or a cad without a dog and a dad with a dog. After each vignette, the participant
rated the attractiveness of the character, and his level of ME. Following KRUGER,
FISHER and JOBLING (2003), for each character, the women rated how much they
would like to: “Marry him” (LTA), and “Have an affair with him” (STA). Items
were rated on a five-point scale ranging from 1 = Not at all, to 5 = Very much.
Mating effort (ME) was assessed using the Kruger Life History Scale (KLHS;
KRUGER and PIGLOWSKI 2012), which has high inter-item reliability and predictive
validity. The KLHS includes 14 statements regarding a person that are rated accord-
ing to their probability on an eleven-point scale of deciles ranging from 0% to
100%. Items represent behaviors associated with short-term mating such as “would
cheat on his partner”, and “would get into fights”. Five of the items are reverse
coded, for example: “would take good care of his kids”, or “would work hard at his
job, even though he doesn’t like it” (in the present study alpha = .75–.88).
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Data analysis
Because each woman rated two of the four descriptions, these two ratings were de-
pendent. Therefore, the data was regarded as dyadic data, and was analyzed using
multilevel modeling. Level 1 was the individual rating of a vignette, which was
nested in level 2 – the participant. Data were entered into SPSS, organized using
double entry method (GRIFFIN and GONZALEZ 1995) and analyzed for actor effects
in distinguishable members (KENNY, KASHY and COOK 2006). Dog ownership was
centered to the grand mean. H4, comparing one description taken from one group of
participants to another description taken from a different group of participants, was
tested using traditional bootstrapping mediation methods.
The multilevel model replicated the preference for cads in short-term relationships
(STA), β = .20, t(96) = 3.97, p < .001, and supported H1’s prediction that dog own-
ership would increase attractiveness in short-term relationships, β = .11, t(96) =
2.23, p = .03 (see Table 1). Dads were preferred in long-term relationships (LTA),
β = .18, t(98) = 2.96, p = .004, replicating previous findings, and dog ownership in-
creased attractiveness in long-term relationships, β = .14, t(98) = 2.18, p = .03, sup-
porting H2. H2 also specified that dog ownership would increase LTA more so for
cads than for dads. Although the expected interaction did not reach statistical sig-
nificance overall, β = .13, t(98) = 1.74, p = .09, simple slope analysis indicated that
dog ownership had no effect on the long-term attractiveness of the dad, β = .002,
t(187) = 0.02, p = .98, but did increase the long-term attractiveness of the cad,
β = .13, t(187) = 2.71, p = .007, (see Figure 1).
Table 1. Standardized coefficients for dog ownership and cad description predicting short-term
attractiveness, long-term attractiveness, and mating effort
Predictor Short-term
Attractiveness Long-term
Attractiveness Mating effort
B SE B β B SE B β B SE B β
Dog ownership 0.27 0.12 .11* 0.30 0.14 .14* –2.35 1.74 –.08
Cad description 0.24 0.06 .20*** –0.20 0.07 –.18** 8.49 0.87 .57***
Dog ownership X
Cad description 0.19 0.21 .08 0.29 0.17 .13 –4.12 1.65 –.14*
p < .10, * p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001
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No Dog Dog
Figure 1. Long-term attractiveness of cads and dads with or without a dog
Ratings of mating effort (ME) were higher for the cad description than the dad
description, validating the vignette content, β = .57, t(98) = 9.75, p < .001 (see Ta-
ble 1). Dog ownership did not have a significant main effect on ME, β = –.08,
t(98) = –1.35, p = .18, but did interact with the description, β = –.14, t(98) = –2.49,
p = .01. Simple slope analysis of the interaction indicated that dog ownership did
not have an effect on ME ratings for dads, β = .06, t(195) = 0.74, p = .98 but sig-
nificantly lowered ME ratings for cads, β = –.22, t(195) = –2.70, p = .008, support-
ing H3 (see Figure 2).
No Dog Dog
Figure 2. Perceived mating effort of cads and dads with or without a dog
JEP 11(2013)3
We tested the mediated model predicted in H4 by bootstrapping after centering
the variables using z scores, using the non-dyadic dataset (see PREACHER and
HAYES 2004) As hypothesized, dog ownership predicted lower perceived ME,
β = –.24, p = .015; and lower perceived ME predicted higher LTA for cads,
β = –.42, p < .001 (see Figure 3). The effect of dog ownership on cad LTA in the
mediated model (β = .16, p = .08) was less than in the unmediated model (β = .27, p
= .007). This significant reduction is reflected in the bootstrap estimate of the indi-
rect effect β =.11, 95%CI [0.02, 0.20]. No mediation effects were apparent for the
cads’ STA, or for any of the dads’ attractiveness measures.
Perceived Mating Effort
Dog Ownership Cad Long-Term
a = -0.24* b = -0.42**
c = 0.16
c' = 0.27**
Figure 3. Standardized coefficients and hypothesized model of mating effort as a mediator of the
effect of dog ownership on cad long-term attraction
c = path coefficient before controlling for mating effort, c’ = path coefficient after controlling for
mating effort. *p < .05, **p < .01
We supported several hypotheses on how dog ownership increases male attractive-
ness for both short- and long-term relationships using an experimental design. Dogs
are especially advantageous to cads for attracting women seeking long-term part-
ners, as dog ownership reduces perceptions of a man having a short-term, high mat-
ing effort reproductive strategy. Perceived mating effort did not mediate attractive-
ness for short-term relationships. Thus, in such relationships the mechanism may be
a signal of physical resources, dominance, or other characteristics rather than a
higher probability of an affair leading to a long-term relationship.
The effects of dog ownership on male attractiveness may be culture-
dependent. In the current study’s population of modern Israeli, dogs seemed to have
softened the perception of cads, increasing the attribution of parental characteristics
to them. However, Paleolithic dogs may have signaled resources or dominance
more so than parental investment. European Paleolithic dogs weighed approxi-
JEP 11(2013)3
mately 35 kg (GERMONPRÉ, LÁZNIČKOVÁ-GALETOVÁ and SABLIN 2012), about the
size of a German Shepherd, and were probably very useful in hunting: finding the
prey, stopping and carrying it back to camp (GERMONP, LÁZNIČKOVÁ-
GALETOVÁ and SABLIN 2012). Among present day Aka and Bofi, dogs also play a
clear functional hunting role with no apparent emotional relationship (LUPO 2011).
In such cultures, dog ownership may not reduce perceptions of mating effort and
may even increase perceptions of resource control and dominance, which may in-
crease attractiveness, especially for dads.
In conclusion, women prefer men with both positive cad and dad traits. In
modern societies, dog ownership signals substantial caretaking in a long-term rela-
tionship. Thus a cad with a dog is especially attractive to women, as they may be-
lieve they are getting the best of both worlds.
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... Although the presence of dogs increases the positive assessment of the environment and other people, improves emotional reactivity to scenes, and increases the sense of safety, it might partially depend upon the emotionality of the whole context (i.e., scenes and individuals who are portrayed in these contexts). For instance, dog presence specifically increases the assessment of therapists' likeability and trustworthiness in those participants who were less positive toward them (Schneider and Harley, 2006); in the same sense, dog ownership increases men's attractiveness, especially when they were previously perceived as less warm and caring (Tifferet et al., 2013). Moreover, Havener et al. (2001) found that dog presence produced a physiologically calming effect when participants found the situation especially stressful. ...
... However, previous studies examined the dog-presence effect in general (i.e., without specifying the scenes; Wells and Perrine, 2001b;Knight and Edwards, 2008;Christian, Wood, et al., 2016), changing scenes (Rossbach and Wilson, 1992;McNicholas and Collis, 2000;Wells, 2004;Schneider and Harley, 2006), or in specific scenes (Wells and Perrine, 2001a;Perrine and Wells, 2006;Guéguen and Ciccotti, 2008;Tifferet et al., 2013;Pendry and Vandagriff, 2019) without considering the emotionality of the context. In other words, it is unknown whether the environment in which they assess the influence of dog presence is perceived as positive or negative by participants. ...
... These results are in line with the limited number of previous studies that found a greater dog effect in less positive contexts. For instance, men depicted in vignettes (short stories) were rated as more attractive by women if they were described as dog owners, and this effect was greater for men previously perceived as relatively less warm and caring (Tifferet et al., 2013). Similarly, the improved perceptions of psychotherapists (i.e., trustworthiness), and increased willingness to disclose on the part of the client, associated with a dog's presence seemed to be greater among individuals who were less positive toward them (Schneider and Harley, 2006). ...
We aimed to examine the role of dog presence in modulating human affective reactivity and sense of safety in emotional urban public spaces. College women (n=296) assessed valence, arousal, dominance, and safety in pictures depicting a man or a woman alone or accompanied by a small- or medium-sized dog in aversive and positive contexts. The results indicated that both dog sizes produce better assessments (i.e., higher valence, dominance, and sense of safety, and lower arousal) than the alone condition in high- and low- aversive (i.e., aversive/man and aversive/woman, respectively) and low-positive (i.e., positive/man) contexts. In highly positive contexts (i.e., positive/woman), the alone condition produces a similar assessment to small-sized dogs on arousal and dominance scales and medium-sized dogs on dominance and safety scales. When comparing dog sizes, small dogs produce better assessments in most emotional contexts. Those results overall indicated that dog presence itself (regardless of dog size) affects participants’ assessment in aversive and low-positive contexts; however, specific dog features such as size, rather than dog presence itself, are more important in high-positive contexts, indicating a ceiling effect. This study highlights the need to consider the emotionality of public settings when assessing the positive dog effect in scenes in which people are portrayed.
... Dependents (i.e., alive beings who depend on someone for care : Serpell & Paul, 2011; such as children : Belk, 1988;or pets: Sanders, 1990) may serve as a signal of an ability and willingness to provide resources and care-or investment capacity-for individuals seeking mates. Such cues are especially salient for men, such that men with children (Guéguen, 2014;Roney et al., 2006) and pets (Gray et al., 2015;Tifferet et al., 2013) are seen as being more attractive mates than those without. This can occur because children and canine pets may indicate high financial and social status, as well as caring abilities (Beverland et al., 2008;Kemkes, 2008;Mosteller, 2008;Serpell & Paul, 2011;Tifferet et al., 2013). ...
... Such cues are especially salient for men, such that men with children (Guéguen, 2014;Roney et al., 2006) and pets (Gray et al., 2015;Tifferet et al., 2013) are seen as being more attractive mates than those without. This can occur because children and canine pets may indicate high financial and social status, as well as caring abilities (Beverland et al., 2008;Kemkes, 2008;Mosteller, 2008;Serpell & Paul, 2011;Tifferet et al., 2013). In addition, children and canine pets require significant material investment (Corso, 2007;Mosteller, 2008;Prendergast & Wong, 2003) and are highly social beings (Maleki et al., 2019;Zasloff, 1996). ...
... This pattern follows our between-strategy and between-sex predictions and was likely the main driver of the results for dependents in general. Some studies have suggested canines are a strong signal for a male's investment capacity and masculinity (Gray et al., 2015;Kogan & Volsche, 2020;Mitchell & Ellis, 2013;Tifferet et al., 2013), as well as dominance-related qualities (Alba & Haslam, 2015, which is also sought by women: Buss & Schmitt, 1993). The types of investment that canines signal in a male carer (i.e., social and financial status, caring abilities) are sought more by women under long-term mating contexts than short-term ones, which could explain the inclination for long-term oriented males to display them over short-term ones. ...
Full-text available
Sexual strategies theory indicates women prefer mates who show the ability and willingness to invest in a long-term mate due to asymmetries in obligate parental care of children. Consequently, women’s potential mates must show they can provide investment – especially when women are seeking a long-term mate. Investment may be exhibited through financial and social status, and the ability to care for a mate and any resulting offspring. Men who care for children and pets (hereafter “dependents”) are perceived as high-quality mates, given that dependents signal an ability to invest; however, no studies have examined how dependents are associated with short-term and long-term mating strategies. Here, online dating profiles were used to test the predictions that an interactive effect between sex and mating strategy will predict displays of dependents, with long-term mating strategy predicting for men but not women. Moreover, this pattern should hold for all dependent types and, due to relative asymmetries in required investment, differences will be strongest regarding displays of children and least in non-canine pets. As expected, men seeking long-term mates displayed dependents more than men seeking short-term mates, but both men and women seeking long-term mates displayed dependents similarly. This pattern was driven mostly by canines. These findings indicate that men adopting a long-term mating strategy display their investment capabilities more compared to those seeking short-term mates, which may be used to signal their mate value.
... We found that the less attractive a woman thought her current mate was, the more impor-tance she placed on receiving financial assistance from her long-term partner. Although, women would ideally prefer all-in-one partners who possess highly desirable traits for both short-term (e.g., physical attractiveness) and long-term mating (e.g., resource provisioning; Buss & Shackelford, 2008;Li & Kenrick, 2006;Tifferet, Kruger, Bar-lev, & Zeller, 2013), there is a trade-off between a male's "good genes" and his willingness for paternal investment (Gangestad & Simpson, 2000). It is interesting that women are willing to trade off a mate's attractiveness for resources but are not willing to trade off other traits like being companionable or of an ideal age (Waynforth, 2001). ...
... We also found that women who rated their partners as being more attractive desired greater emotional support from their partners. This finding might be explained by men's "cad" versus "dad" mating strategies (Kruger, Fisher, & Jobling, 2003;Tifferet et al., 2013). Wanting emotional support from a highly attractive mate may be a woman's tactic to secure his commitment because this desirable mate or "cad" may have many mating opportunities elsewhere. ...
Several studies have documented women’s evolved psychological preference for mates who provide resources and provisioning, but few have examined specific preferences for what defines “resources” in the modern day. In this study, we examined specific types of modern-day resources women prefer given their age and self-perceived mate value. Specifically, we considered women’s preferences for the following: (a) certain types of gifts from long-term mates, (b) mate possessions of certain traits/materials related to resource acquisition, and (c) acts of service and/or provisioning by long-term mates. We found that younger women and those with higher self-rated mate value placed more importance on long-term mates who provide emotional support, romantic gifts, and show signs of wealth potential, whereas older women placed greater impor- tance on receiving domestic help and gifts that are of financial assistance. Unmarried women, those not in committed relationships, and women without children were more likely to desire mates who gave them romantic gifts, showed wealth potential, and provided emotional support than did married women, women in relationships, and women with children. These findings are interpreted using an evolutionary framework and further elucidate what constitutes women’s preferences for resources and provisioning from long-term mates as defined in modern times.
... Interestingly, heterospecifics can also constitute extended phenotypic cues. Pet ownership, for instance, increases a male's attractiveness to a woman (Tifferet et al. 2013). In a simple but clever experimental set-up, a highly attractive male confederate set about soliciting phone numbers from young women on the street (Guéguen and Ciccotti 2008). ...
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[Target Article.] Objectives: Sexual selection typically centers on bodily and psychological traits. Non-bodily traits ranging from housing and vehicles through art to social media can, however, influence sexual selection even in absence of the phenotype proper. The theoretical framework of human sexual selection is updated in this article by unifying four theoretical approaches and conceptualizing non-bodily traits as extended phenotypic traits. Methods: Existing research is synthesized with extended phenotype theory, life history theory, and behavioral ecology. To test population-level hypotheses arising from the review, ecological and demographic data on 122 countries are analyzed with multiple linear regression modelling. Results: A four-factor model of intelligence, adolescent fertility, population density, and atmospheric cold demands predicts 64% of global variation in economic complexity in 1995 and 72% of the variation in 2016. Conclusions: The evolutionary pathways of extended phenotypes frequently undergo a categorical broadening from providing functional benefits to carrying signalling value. Extended phenotypes require investments in skills and bioenergetic resources, but they can improve survival in high latitudes, facilitate the extraction of resources from the environment, and substantially influence sexual selection outcomes. Bioenergetic investments in extended phenotypes create individual- and population-level tradeoffs with competing life history processes, exemplified here as a global tradeoff between adolescent fertility and economic complexity. The merits of the present model include a more systematic classification of sexual traits, a clearer articulation of their evolutionary-developmental hierarchy, and an analysis of ecological, genetic, and psychological mechanisms that modulate the flow of energy into extended phenotypes and cultural innovations.
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Los vínculos entre personas y otros animales se han convertido en área respetada de investigación dentro de la antrozoología. La Asociación Americana de Medicina Veterinaria los define como relaciones dinámicas y mutuamente beneficiosas que incluyen conductas que impactan en el bienestar de los humanos y animales implicados. Con el propósito de describir sus particularidades, se revisan las tres teorías más renombradas sobre la formación de vínculos humano-animal: Teoría del Apoyo Social, Teoría del Apego y Teoría de la Biofilia. Partiendo de un esquema propuesto por Fine (2014; 2019) se desarrollan los constructos conceptualizados como factores que motivan la formación de estos vínculos, proponiendo una redefinición y ampliación de estos factores. De este modo, se plantea un esquema integrado por: (1) antropomorfismo, (2) dependencia/cuidados nutricios, (3) integración en la vida familiar, (4) balance costo-beneficio, y (5) influencia sociocultural. Estos factores se fundamentan a su vez en el apoyo social, el apego y la biofilia. Finalmente, se discute la falta de mención del afecto implicado en la definición de vínculo. Se cuestiona el intento de adecuación conceptual del vínculo humano-animal a una definición de amistad, en tanto el primero cuenta diferencialmente con la asimetría dada por la dependencia y los cuidados, más bien, propios de una relación parental. Así, se desarrolla el concepto de amor familiar, como un afecto desinteresado y leal que permite que vínculos sociales externos a la familia puedan ser incorporados a esta, y se integra esta noción a la definición del vínculo. Abstract: The bonds between people and other animals has become a respected research field within anthrozoology. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) considers them as dynamic and mutually beneficial relationships, which include actions that impact on the wellbeing of both parts. With the aim of describing their particular traits, we revisited the three most renowned theories on the human-animal bond formation: Social support theory, Attachment theory and Biophilia theory (hypothesis). As of a scheme proposed by Fine (2014; 2019) the conceptualized constructs as factors that motivate the formation of these bonds were developed, which led to their redefinition and extension. Hence, we pose a scheme compound of: (1) anthropomorphism, (2) dependence/nurturing, (3) integration in family life, (4) cost-benefit balance and (5) sociocultural influence. These factors are grounded, at the same time, on social support, attachment and biophilia. Finally, we discuss the omission of affection implied in the definition of bond. We question the intent of conceptual adequation of the human-animal bond into a friendship definition, as the former possesses a differential asymmetry given by the dependency and care, rather typical of a parental relationship. Thus, the concept of familial love is developed as a selfless and loyal kind of affection that allow external social bonds to be incorporated to the family and this notion is integrated in the bond definition.
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La relación humano-perro tiene una historia evolutiva particularmente extensa. Los primeros perros fueron utilizados como guardianes, guías y compañeros de caza, asumiendo luego roles cruciales en el desarrollo de la agricultura. Aunque tratados como subordinados, gradualmente fueron convirtiéndose en valorados compañeros. Actualmente constituyen el prototipo de animal de compañía, destacándose sus posibilidades de establecer una estrecha relación bidireccional con los humanos. Sin embargo, los vínculos entre humanos y animales han sido tradicionalmente excluidos de consideraciones académicas serias. Con el surgimiento de la antrozoología, hace poco más de 30 años, el estudio de las interacciones humano-animal comenzó su ininterrumpido crecimiento, principalmente en los países más desarrollados. Con el objetivo de describir la relación humano-perro en Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, se realizó un estudio transversal, mediante encuestas, que involucró a 425 participantes (hombres: 119; mujeres: 306) mayores de 21 años (M = 42.96, DE = 16.08), todos los cuales habían residido con sus perros de compañía por más de un año. Los participantes completaron un cuestionario sociodemográfico y seis medidas de la relación humano-perro: Interacción Dueño-Perro, Cercanía Emocional Percibida, Costos Percibidos, Antropomorfismo, Voluntad de Adaptación y Beneficios Percibidos. Todos los aspectos de la relación se asociaron entre sí excepto por Costos Percibidos, que sólo se asoció positivamente con la Voluntad de Adaptación y negativamente al Antropomorfismo. La tendencia al antropomorfismo fue el aspecto relacional que más se asoció con la percepción de relaciones humano-perro exitosas, en tanto resultó la única faceta de la relación asociada con la percepción de menores costos y de mayores beneficios. Por otro lado, el antropomorfismo no se relacionó con la cantidad de personas o hijos en la vivienda, mientras que sí lo hizo intensamente con la Cercanía Emocional Percibida. Las mujeres manifestaron mayores niveles de proximidad emocional y antropomorfismo, pero no difirieron de los hombres en las demás variables relacionales. La edad de los custodios se asoció con menor percepción de costos y de intensidad en las interacciones con el perro. La menor edad de los hijos se asoció con menor cercanía emocional y mayor percepción de costos. Los perros de mayor tamaño resultaron más beneficiosos, aunque no más costosos para sus custodios. La raza de los perros y su estado reproductivo no mostraron relación con la intensidad de la relación, más que una leve asociación entre raza de perro y comportamientos ligados a la identidad social o estatus del custodio. Los resultados destacaron que la relación con los perros era concebida como un vínculo de familia, de elevada proximidad afectiva e intensidad en las interacciones, por el que los custodios estaban dispuestos a afrontar múltiples costos. Las descripciones realizadas permitieron identificar estrategias para fomentar relaciones humano-perro más exitosas, así como intervenciones ligadas al bienestar de humanos y perros. En suma, esta investigación se propone contribuir a destacar la relevancia y legitimidad del estudio de las interacciones humano-animal.
Individuals with overweight and obesity are subject to enormous bias and discrimination across domains. This bias constitutes a considerable public health problem beyond the effects of excess weight on health. Unfortunately, the few interventions that have been implemented to reduce this bias have not been successful. Evidence that the presence of an animal makes individuals and settings appear more attractive, desirable, approachable, and relaxed, as well as happier and safer, suggests that dog ownership may be a simple way to reduce weight bias. Accordingly, we tested whether the presence of a dog can reduce weight bias in a sample of 314 online participants. Each participant was presented with a stimulus image representing one of three conditions (person with dog, person with plant, or person alone), and was then asked to rate the human model using three measures. Two sets of stimuli (featuring different models) were used to ensure that findings were not restricted to a particular model. Contrary to our predictions, we found no evidence that the presence of a dog affects endorsement of weight-related stereotypes, general evaluations, or desire for social distance. These findings contrast with a large body of literature showing that dogs enhance perceptions of a range of individuals and settings. The effect of dogs on perceptions may be restricted in the case of weight bias because of the pervasive, explicit, and severe nature of this bias. Dogs may have stronger effects on attitudes that are less openly endorsed. Promising avenues where dogs are very likely to influence attitudes include perceptions of individuals of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities, and even political parties.
Objective: We tested whether people are prone toward positive perceptions of Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAIs). We additionally evaluated whether this effect is stronger for people who have positive attitudes toward companion animals. Method: We presented 210 participants with fictitious news reports, each describing a study of an AAI or a control intervention. Participants rated the news reports on their credibility, acceptability, and general appeal and completed a measure of attitudes toward companion animals. Results: Individuals with positive attitudes toward companion animals evaluated AAIs as more credible, acceptable, and positive than did individuals with negative attitudes toward companion animals. There was no difference in how people with positive and negative attitudes toward companion animals evaluated control treatments. Conclusion: We found that individuals with positive attitudes toward companion animals perceived AAIs as more credible, acceptable, and positive, relative to individuals with more negative attitudes toward companion animals.
Context: Human-animal interaction (HAI) is widely used as a method of reducing psychological distress. However, research findings in support of HAI have not kept pace with the widespread prevalence in practice. Objective: I review and synthesize the quantitative evidence for the influence of HAI on psychological distress and outline future directions for research. Results: The evidence suggests that HAI has a small-to-medium effect on distress but does not clarify whether animals account for the treatment effects. Research also has not determined whether positive effects observed in circumscribed HAI programs extend to companion animal ownership. Conclusion: HAI research needs to address methodological limitations and expand the focus beyond treatment outcome studies. By increasing our understanding of the processes through which HAI reduces distress, the circumstances under which it is most effective at doing so, and the influence HAI has on the animals, we can enhance the impact of HAI.
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Pets have become such a common component of modern family life that we tend to take them for granted. Nevertheless, from an evolutionary standpoint, pets present us with a paradox comparable to-though even more puzzling than-that posed by the phenomenon of adoption. In the latter case, one can at least argue that adoptive parents may derive deferred fitness benefits from the future contribution of adopted children to the family economy (Kramer, 2005). But in the case of adopted pets, such contributions appear to be minimal at best, whereas the level of investment in their care and sustenance is sometimes considerable. The paradox further intensifies when one considers that pet keeping is not confined to modern, affluent societies, but is widespread among subsistence hunters and horticulturalists whose opportunities to engage in nonfitness enhancing behavior would appear to be much more constrained. This chapter critically examines theories that purport to explain how pet keeping evolved and why it continues to persist and flourish in a wide range of cultures. Given the current state of knowledge, few firm conclusions can be drawn at this time regarding the possible adaptive consequences of pet keeping. However, it is possible to highlight future areas of research that may help to illuminate the functional significance (if any) of this intriguing behavior.
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Because of extensive media coverage, it is now widely believed that pets enhance their owners’ health, sense of psychological well-being, and longevity. But while some researchers have reported that positive effects accrue from interacting with animals, others have found that the health and happiness of pet owners is no better, and in some cases worse, than that of non–pet owners. I discuss some reasons why studies of the effects of pets on people have produced conflicting results, and I argue that the existence of a generalized “pet effect” on human mental and physical health is at present not a fact but an unsubstantiated hypothesis.
A body of research has demonstrated that people adopt a more interpersonally positive orientation as they age. The current study extends this line of research by examining how mate preferences shift as a function of age. Our worldwide sample rated their attraction to various photographs and completed self-report measures of attraction. Based on a revealed preference measure, the authors found that older individuals preferred people who displayed communal characteristics, and this pattern was fairly universal. On the other hand, self-reported preferences were less consistent. The authors’ findings suggest that, in addition to becoming more agreeable with age, people are drawn to others with similarly agreeable qualities. This universal pattern indicates that mate preferences across the life span shift largely toward increased preference for communal characteristics.
Whether or not the wolf was domesticated during the early Upper Palaeolithic remains a controversial issue. We carried out detailed analyses of the skull material from the Gravettian Předmostí site, Czech Republic, to investigate the issue. Three complete skulls from Předmostí were identified as Palaeolithic dogs, characterized by short skull lengths, short snouts, and wide palates and braincases relative to wolves. One complete skull could be assigned to the group of Pleistocene wolves. Three other skulls could not be assigned to a reference group; these might be remains from hybrids or captive wolves. Modifications by humans of the skull and canine remains from the large canids of Předmostí indicate a specific relationship between humans and large canids.
Facial features and expressions influence perceptions of attractiveness, personality, behavioral tendencies, and relationship preferences. We manipulated eyelid openness in facial images of two men. Consistent with our predictions, open eyelid images were associated more so with behaviors consistent with long-term mating strategies and lowered eyelid images were associated more so with behaviors consistent with short-term mating strategies. Participants generally rated the men depicted in the open eyelid images as more attractive; however, the difference between images decreased as the prospective relationship length decreased. Participants’ preferences matched their expectations for the people in the images, for example, mate-guarding concerns were stronger for the lowered eyelid images. Our results suggest that eyelid openness serves as a heuristic in evaluating an individual’s mating intentions. Understandably, we did not find effects seen for manipulations of structural characteristics such as facial masculinity and symmetry, which are thought to be indicators of genetic quality.
Substantial sums of money are invested annually in preventative medicine and therapeutic treatment for people with a wide range of physical and psychological health problems, sometimes to no avail. There is now mounting evidence to suggest that companion animals, such as dogs and cats, can enhance the health of their human owners and may thus contribute significantly to the health expenditure of our country. This paper explores the evidence that pets can contribute to human health and well-being. The article initially concentrates on the value of animals for short- and long-term physical health, before exploring the relationship between animals and psychological health, focusing on the ability of dogs, cats, and other species to aid the disabled and serve as a “therapist” to those in institutional settings. The paper also discusses the evidence for the ability of dogs to facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of specific chronic diseases, notably cancer, epilepsy, and diabetes. Mechanisms underlying the ability of animals to promote human health are discussed within a theoretical framework. Whereas the evidence for a direct causal association between human well-being and companion animals is not conclusive, the literature reviewed is largely supportive of the widely held, and long-standing, belief that “pets are good for us.”
This research explored the relation of endogenous testosterone levels to behavior in brief social encounters. In four studies, 358 college students whose testosterone levels were known entered a room and (1) stood and spoke to a video camera, (2) stood and talked with an experimenter, (3) sat and talked with an interviewer, or (4) sat and talked with a peer. High-testosterone students entered more quickly, focused more directly on their targets, and displayed a more forward and independent manner. Results were similar for men and women. Correlates of testosterone are visible in thin slices of everyday behavior lasting only a few seconds. The effect of this behavior on a social interaction partner remains to be determined.
In order to study the hormonal correlates of the tradeoff between mating and parenting effort in human males, we examined the salivary testosterone (T) levels of 58 Boston-area men who were either unmarried (n=29), married without children (n=14), or married with children (n=15). Additionally, we asked participants to complete a questionnaire that surveyed their demographic, marital, and parenting backgrounds. We tested the hypotheses that (1) T levels will be lower in married than in unmarried men and (2) married men with children will have lower T levels than unmarried men and married men without children. We also tested a series of hypotheses relating variation in parenting and spousal relationships to T. We found that married men with and without children had significantly lower evening T than unmarried men. No significant differences in T were found among the groups in morning samples. Among married men without children, higher scores on a “spousal investment” measure and more hours spent with a man's wife on his last day off work were both associated with lower T levels. We suggest that lower T levels during the day among fathers may facilitate paternal care in humans by decreasing the likelihood that a father will engage in competitive and/or mating behavior.
We extended past research on the self-enhancement bias and the mere ownership effect to examine whether people have favorably distorted views of their pets. Participants in Study 1 rated their own pet and the average pet on a series of desirable and undesirable personality traits. Participants rated their own pet more favorably than the average pet, revealing a pet-enhancement bias. Study 2 found that the extent of bias was positively correlated with pet attachment, pet-self similarity, and self-enhancement. Pet enhancement was also correlated with some indexes of subjective well-being but for only a subsample of participants. Pet-self similarity was more consistently related to well-being. Results are discussed in terms of their relevance to the potential psychological and physiological benefits that can be derived from people's perceptions of their pets.