Laboratory aggression where the victim is a small dog

Knud S. Larsen1, Jim Ashlock1, Chris Carroll1, Susan Foote1, John Feeler1, Ernest Keller1, Gordon Seese1, David Watkins1
1Oregan State University, United States
Cite this article:  Larsen, K. S., Ashlock, J., Carroll, C., Foote, S., Feeler, J., Keller, E., Seese, G., & Watkins, D. (1974). Laboratory aggression where the victim is a small dog. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 2(2), 174-176.

Volume 2 Issue 2 | e69 | Published: August 1974 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1974.2.2.174

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Earlier experiments in laboratory aggression have demonstrated the willingness of participants to shock human victims as functions of obedience and situational conformity processes. In this experiment, 30 undergraduate college students shocked a small dog. The hypothesis that participants would shock this vulnerable victim less was confirmed. Females shocked the dog significantly less than males, a difference which does not occur for human victims. This difference may be attributed to different empathy levels, and different roles that pets play for the two sexes. Rationale supporting the shocking behavior evolved around the belief that punishment is legitimate and the dog received fair treatment.

 

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