Penn State researchers found when people are deciding to engage in empathy, context matters.
Study leader Daryl Cameron says, “It’s possible that if people are seeing humans and animals in competition, it might lead to them preferring to empathize with other humans. But if you don’t see that competition, and the situation is just deciding whether to empathize with an animal one day and a human the other, it seems that people don’t want to engage in human empathy but they’re a little bit more interested in animals.”
He also says there’s a theory that it may be more difficult for people to feel true empathy for animals since their minds are different than those of humans. (EurekAlert!)