Indexed on: 04 Jan '17Published on: 04 Jan '17Published in: PloS one
Interactions with animals are pervasive in human life, a fact that is reflected in the burgeoning field of human-animal relations research. The goal of the current research was to examine the psychology of our social connection with other animals, by specifically developing a measure of solidarity with animals. In 8 studies using correlational, experimental, and longitudinal designs, solidarity with animals predicted more positive attitudes and behaviors toward animals, over and above existing scales of identification, and even when this implied a loss of resources and privileges for humans relative to animals. Solidarity with animals also displayed predicted relationships with relevant variables (anthropomorphism, empathy). Pet owners and vegetarians displayed higher levels of solidarity with animals. Correlational and experimental evidence confirmed that human-animal similarity heightens solidarity with animals. Our findings provide a useful measure that can facilitate important insights into the nature of our relationships with animals.