Mike Kueber's Blog

January 10, 2014

Your dog or your fellow human?

Filed under: Culture — Mike Kueber @ 9:46 pm
Tags: ,

A cousin of mine recently posted a gripe about all of the Facebook concern expressed throughout America for the pets being negligently subjected to the record-setting Arctic vortex.  In her opinion, the concern was misplaced at a time when homeless humans were similarly at risk.

Her argument reminds me of a controversy several months ago that was prompted by a study revealing that many Americans would save a pet before saving a stranger.  The study was widely reported on-line, with the following Huffington Post article being typical:

  • There’s a high-speed bus barreling toward you with no signs of slowing down. Your pet dog and a foreign tourist stand in its path, deer-in-the-headlights style. You can only save one. Which do you choose?  About 40 percent of participants faced with this hypothetical would save their dog’s life rather than the foreigner’s, according to researchers at Georgia Regents University and Cape Fear Community College. That number is higher for women, at about 45 percent.

Because I share the sentiment of my cousin above, I was troubled by the study until I read an analysis in Psychology Today:

  • Is Topolski suggesting that 40% of people would save their pet over a person if confronted with a real runaway bus, a real foreign tourist, and their real dog?  Of course not.

This analysis may be correct, but I would hate to be in a position that forces a pet-loving American to choose me over their pet.

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