Are you a pet owner? If you are then, like me, you’ve earned your fair share of eye rolls because you’ve cancelled a plan to walk your dog, buy a new outfit for your cat or install that new Jacuzzi on your turtle’s tank. Some people don’t understand this kind of love. Some might think we’re exaggerating, but don’t worry, a new scientific study has found that we’re not insane. You love your dog, cat, marsupial, or whatever you own, as much as any other member of your family – and it is a fact.
Researchers at the Massachusetts general hospital ran a study to discover if people love their dogs as much as they love their children. The researchers showed a group of women pictures of their own babies and pets and compared their brain activity when they saw photos of babies and dogs they didn’t know.
“There was a common network of brain regions involved in emotion, reward, affiliation, visual processing and social cognition when mothers viewed images of both their child and dog,” reads the study. The unfamiliar photos didn’t provoke the same reaction. Source.
Now some people are raising the question: Do we love our pets too much?
The study reveals the suspicion of some specialists who’ve been pointing out for a while that the role of the pet has changed in recent decades. The one who used to be a companion or a man’s “best friend” has been promoted to family member and in some cases, experts warn, even a substitute for human relationships.
“There’s a list of the most common names among policy-holders for pet insurance and the most popular dog names are Jake and Chloe and Bella”. — They’re very similar to the names in my daughter’s preschool. They’re not the kind of names you’d find in dog cartoons. Source.
But what about our little animals? Do they love us as much as we love them? A group of scientists in Vienna, Austria ran a different study. This one was about the behavior of pets when their owner was around in comparison to when they weren’t. They discovered that dogs were much willing to work for a treat as a reward when their owners were in the room compared to when they weren’t.
‘The study provides the first evidence for the similarity between the “secure base effect” found in dog/owner and child/caregiver relationships,’ Dr Horn said. Source.
Did we really need a study to figure all of this out? Who knows? But, at least now you have some cool trivia to share at your next dinner party.