Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0892-7936 / 1753-0377
Published by: Informa UK Limited (10.1080)
Total articles ≅ 1,588
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, , Stephanie M. Roeter Smith,
Published: 26 November 2021
While efficacy trials suggest that Animal Visitation Programs (AVPs) relieve university student stress, their essential components are unknown. Students were randomly assigned to one of four 10-min conditions: AVP touch (n = 73), AVP proximity (n = 62), AVP imagery (n = 57), or AVP waitlist (n = 57). Participants collected salivary cortisol (Cort) and α-amylase (sAA) upon waking and at 15 and 25 min post-condition from which parameters indicating adaptive physiological functioning were calculated. Multiple linear regression analyses showed that students in all three comparison conditions had lower posttest sAA (βproximity = −0.175, p = 0.017; βimagery = −0.214, p = 0.003; βwaitlist = −0.138, p = 0.051), lower sAA-to-Cort ratios (AOCs) from pretest to posttest (βproximity = −0.277, p< 0.001; βimagery = −0.307, p< 0.001; βwaitlist = −0.172, p = 0.014), lower AOCs from wakeup to posttest (βproximity = −0.135, p = 0.010; βimagery = −0.150, p = 0.004; βwaitlist = −0.117, p = 0.021), and a smaller sAA increase from wakeup to posttest (βproximity = −0.216, p = 0.001; βimagery = −0.247, p< 0.001; βwaitlist = −0.130, p = 0.033) compared with the AVP touch condition, indicating greater autonomic arousal (sAA) and coordination of stress systems (AOCs) in AVP touch participants. These results suggest that touch is the primary AVP component facilitating adaptive stress-related physiological states among participating university students.
Bingtao Su, , Pim Martens
Published: 23 November 2021
The use of animals in medical research raises ethical challenges. In light of this moral issue, this study sought to investigate and compare people’s attitudes toward the use of ten animal species in medical research based on data collected from China (n = 504; men = 294, women = 210), Japan (n = 900; men = 446, women = 454), and the Netherlands (n = 506; men = 259, women = 247) using online questionnaires. We also aimed to explore the relationship between people’s ethical ideology (idealism and relativism) and their attitudes toward animal use in medical research. Data were analyzed using both chi-square tests and binary logistic regression analysis. We found that the Chinese group showed a higher level of acceptability for using all ten animal species in medical research, as compared with the Dutch and Japanese respondents. Regarding people’s attitudes toward animal-based medical research, ethical idealism was found to be a predictor for Dutch people, and ethical relativism for the Japanese group. Neither ethical idealism nor relativism showed predictive correlations with Chinese people’s attitudes toward using any animal species in medical research. Significant negative correlations were found between people’s acceptability for using animals in medical research and their attitudes toward animals in general, across the three countries. Our findings indicate that ethical ideologies behave differently in predicting people’s attitudes toward animal-based medical research in China, Japan, and the Netherlands, which might be due to different levels of animal welfare and differing cultures between countries. In conclusion, the integration of ethical variables and social value preferences of a given society is of crucial importance in broadening people’s understanding of balancing animal welfare concerns with the facilitation of scientific research.
, Rijita Mukherjee,
Published: 23 November 2021
The purpose of the current research was to explore changes in Indian attitudes and practices with pet dogs and cats and compare them with responses from the United States. Pet parenting, defined as the investment of money, emotion, and time in companion animals, is a form of alloparental care (care given by someone other than the offspring’s biological parents). Pet parenting appears to emerge in cultures that (1) demonstrate high rates of urbanization, (2) have declining total fertility rates (average births per woman), and (3) support life orientations beyond reproduction (collectively called the second demographic transition). A total of 1,417 respondents (US, n = 991; India, n = 426) completed online surveys (one in each country) to compare demographic profiles, attachment (as measured by the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale [LAPS]), and companion animal caretaking behaviors in each culture. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to compare Indian and United States populations on the LAPS and caretaking behaviors (titled CARES in our study). Our findings document the emergence of pet parenting in India with many similarities to the United States. However, cultural variations in how these societies engage with nonhuman animals result in nuanced differences. For example, when reporting terms used to refer to themselves (e.g., Mom/Dad, friend, owner) and their companion animals (e.g., kids, pet, animal), United States respondents were more likely to code switch to less familial terms when speaking to coworkers and strangers. Additionally, Indian respondents reported higher agreement with all three LAPS scales, and they also reported higher frequency of behaviors related to Affective Responsiveness and General Care. Both cultures reported a moderately high frequency of Training and Play, with the United States respondents reporting slightly more training than Indians. These differences suggest that philosophical disparities exist between the United States and India, shaping the practice of pet parenting. We suggest continued, cross-cultural investigation of changing norms surrounding companion animals and the emergence of pet parenting.
Published: 23 November 2021
Sharks are at increasing risk of extinction. Being a key factor in maintaining the balance of marine life in the ocean, as well as regulating the variety and abundance of the species below them in the food chain, their depletion is threatening the whole marine ecological system. Aside from the fisheries industry regulation, public opinion plays a fundamental role in any conservation effort. However, unlike other iconic sea marine animals such as dolphins, sharks receive little attention, and conservation support from the public. Many scholars attribute such neglect to sharks' bad image amongst the public. The present study was aimed at getting a better understanding of sharks' bad image, using the Stereotype Content Model/Behaviors from Intergroup Affect and Stereotypes map (SCM/BIAS map), and its association with attitudinal and behavioral tendencies toward their conservation. Participants (n = 144; Mage = 22.28; SD = 6.24; 66% female) were assessed in terms of their perceived warmth, competence, and approach-avoidance emotions related to sharks (and dolphins), as well as attitudes toward their conservation and their donation intention. Results showed that, congruent with the SCM/BIAS map, sharks fit the “threatening-awe stereotype” (high competence and low warmth), whereas dolphins align with the “protective stereotype” (high competence and high warmth). Results also showed that warmth was associated with more positive perceptions of sharks and positive attitudes toward their conservation. Warmth as a potential facilitating key factor in sharks’ conservation promotion is discussed.
, Elizabeth Crouchman, Haley Belliveau
Published: 15 November 2021
Horses use whinnies as a communication tool that potentially indicates positive or negative situations reflective of their felt experience. Being able to interpret the emotional state of horses allows humans to respond appropriately to mitigate a negative situation or repeat or enhance a positive situation. This study investigated whether humans can accurately categorize positive and negative whinnies from the domestic horse according to known positive and negative situations validated by behavioral indicators. Using an online survey, participants (n = 309) were asked to categorize 32 horse whinny audio samples based on whether they believed the vocalization was positive or negative and to rate the horse’s arousal level from 1 (calm) to 10 (highly excited). Participants also provided demographic information (age, gender, geographical location, horse experience). Humans were able to correctly categorize the emotional valence of domestic horse vocalizations as positive or negative 64.4% of the time (p< 0.0001). Female participants significantly outperformed male participants (p = 0.0307) in this ability. Age (p = 0.0979), level of horse experience (p = 0.3228), and geographical location (p = 0.0834) did not play a role in an individual’s ability to correctly classify emotional valence, but arousal levels were more likely to be rated higher by older people (p< 0.0001) and females (p = 0.0036) than younger people or males. Positive and negative vocalizations may be indicative of the horse’s emotional state; correct interpretation by humans facilitates an appropriate response to varying situations in training, housing, and husbandry practices.
Natalie Ein, Maureen J. Reed,
Published: 15 November 2021
Research indicates that animal-assisted therapy programs can reduce stress responses. However, animals are not always permitted in public settings. Thus, alternative forms to the physical presence of an animal could be beneficial. The objective of this study was to determine (1) whether exposure to an active-dog video can help improve subjective and physiological responses to stress more than a tranquil-dog video, (2) whether exposure to dog videos can improve subjective and physiological stress responses more than nature videos, and (3) whether exposure to dog (and nature) videos can improve subjective and physiological stress responses more than a control video. Participants (n = 103; female = 78, male = 25) completed a stressful task and were randomly assigned to watch one of five videos: active dog (dog playing with a toy), tranquil dog (dog lying down quietly), active nature (fast-paced waterfall in a forest), tranquil nature (slow-moving stream in a forest), or blank screen (control video; a video of a black screen). Improvements in subjective (i.e., decrease in stress, anxiety, negative affect, and/or increase in happiness, relaxation, positive affect) and physiological (decrease in heart rate and blood pressure) responses to the stressor were examined. This study found no evidence that the active-dog video improved subjective or physiological responses more than the tranquil-dog video. However, this study found evidence that dog videos can decrease subjective anxiety and increase positive affect more than nature videos. Similarly, this study also found that dog videos can decrease subjective anxiety and increase happiness and positive affect more than can the control video. The effects of the dog videos and nature videos (and control video) on the remaining subjective measures and all physiological responses did not differ. Together, the results show some evidence that dog videos may be better at improving subjective anxiety, happiness, and positive affect responses than nature and/or control videos. However, the results did not show evidence that dog videos could alleviate any physiological responses more than the other videos. Practical applications of these findings include how to improve subjective anxiety and affect responses in public settings (e.g., universities) when animals are not allowed.
, Camilla W. Nonterah, Jennifer A. Joy-Gaba, Curtis Phills, Kristen C. Jacobson
Published: 12 November 2021
There is abundant evidence for pro-White color bias across the social psychology literature. In human–animal interaction work, black dog syndrome (BDS) refers to preference toward lighter-colored dogs over black dogs, leading to differences in rates of euthanasia and adoption. BDS has received mixed support in prior studies. Results from studies examining explicit color preference toward animals are also inconsistent. Numerous studies report strong support for implicit pro-White bias toward humans, but no studies have examined implicit pro-White bias toward animals. Thus, the primary aim of the current research was to test for implicit pro-White bias across various stimuli and species, using both novel and well-established Implicit Association Tests (IATs). In study 1 (n = 127) and study 2 (n = 141), IATs assessed pro-White bias across five different stimuli: objects, rabbits, dogs, skin tone, and race, using data collected from college students. Participants were categorized into three groups based on race and ethnicity (non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and all other racial/ethnic participants). In both studies, there was evidence of pro-White bias across all five IATs. However, both studies also revealed significant racial differences. In both studies, pro-White bias was significant among White and other racial/ethnic participants but not among Black participants. Racial/ethnic differences were also found in prevalence of pet ownership and attitudes toward pets, but neither ownership nor attitudes were significantly associated with pro-White bias. Results from this study provide indirect support for BDS, in that individuals showed an implicit bias toward White dogs, although this bias is not present among Black individuals.
Published: 8 November 2021
This study explored the ambivalence influenced by emotional and moral concerns experienced by Israeli Jewish slaughterers regarding their everyday practices. The findings were based on 35 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with Jewish workers in the kosher slaughter industry in Israel. The manifestations of ambivalence found in the interviews were divided into three categories: between action and meaning, between emotions and religious rationality, and between human–animal similarities and differences. I concluded that, while Jewish slaughterers in Israel displayed ambivalent views about nonhuman animals, they had clear resolutions for these inner conflicts based on available moral and religious justifications for animal slaughter.
, Jairo Lozano-Martinez, Jessica Reeves, Mollie Page, Jaime H. Martin, Heidi Prozesky
Published: 26 October 2021
Research into the effectiveness of zoo Ambassador Animal Programs (AAPs) has typically investigated human or animal factors separately. This study took a multi-dimensional approach and aimed primarily to (1) determine whether change in visitor knowledge was influenced by the type of experience undertaken and (2) assess welfare indicators in ambassador cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) during encounter and non-encounter periods at a South African zoological facility. The AAP was evaluated for its visitor impact using a repeated-measures study design, whereby visitor agreement with six statements (3 being correct and 3 being incorrect) were assessed pre- and post-visit; change in responses was then compared according to the type of visit (encounter, guided tour, or combination; n = 182). Behavioral indicators (activity budget, pacing, lying with head down, and behaviors indicative of positive [purring] or negative [tail-flicking] affective states) were measured as well as a physiological (heart rate) indicator of animal welfare for cheetahs (n = 5). The expression of these indicators was compared according to whether the cheetahs were on display (with and without visitor presence at the fence) and involved in an encounter (with and without physical interaction, that is, being stroked). A positive knowledge change was recorded in 62% of visitors, regardless of experience type, whilst 11% and 27% exhibited no change or reduced knowledge score, respectively. Visitors involved in encounters had a significantly lower (but still positive) knowledge change compared with other visit types. No difference in cheetah behavior was detected for interaction and non-interaction periods. However, cheetahs spent greater periods of time lying with their head down whilst being stroked, and the mean heart rate was significantly lower during these interactions. These findings indicate that animal–visitor encounters alone are unlikely to promote conservation-education, but the addition of a guided tour was important in facilitating increased conservation-education. Whilst the welfare of animal ambassadors was not compromised by visitor encounters, negative changes in knowledge scores for some visitors suggest areas for improvement exist.
, Joanne M. Williams
Published: 21 October 2021
Several perspectives inform research on Childhood Animal Cruelty (CAC), but these perspectives are poorly integrated with each other and there is little dialogue with the rest of the child–animal interaction (CAI) literature. This study reviews the current empirical and theoretical literature on CAC to explore issues regarding research definitions and methodologies. Following the RAMESES guidelines, we performed a meta-narrative review of the CAC literature from 2010 to 2020, including theoretical papers and original research published in English. Four databases (OVID, Web of Science, PubMed, and EBSCOhost) were searched for terms relating to children, animals, and harm in the title and keyword fields. This generated 416 results, and 69 publications were reviewed here. We explore theories of CAC in relation to the historical research strands and discuss how well they are supported by existing empirical evidence. We thematically classified empirical study findings, which showed that (1) environmental factors that predict CAC include exposure to childhood adversity, especially experiences of violence and witnessing animal cruelty, (2) CAC is recurrent or has extreme links to later interpersonal violence, (3) psychological risk factors linked to CAC include externalizing disorders, lower empathy, lower self-esteem, poorer family functioning, and attitudes accepting of cruelty, (4) witnessing animal cruelty is a serious risk factor for a range of internalizing and externalizing behaviors, and (5) a range of psychosocial barriers exist in measuring and reporting CAC. Issues with measures, population selection, and definitions focusing only on more severe forms of CAC are factors which potentially constrain the generalizability of results. We highlight the need for developmentally appropriate definitions of CAC and methods of measurement and argue that the CAC literature is not well aligned with animal welfare legislation. We propose that CAC should be integrated into a broader spectrum of childhood behaviors toward animals.
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