Are cats moral or amoral? Can a toad be sad? People appear to have ready-made opinions about the answers to such questions. Dr Emile van der Zee and Prof Todd Hogue from the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln have developed a questionnaire that measures people’s attitudes towards animals; whether animals can think, have emotions, or feel pain.
Our attitudes towards animals are an important predictor for our thinking about animal welfare (do pigs need to roam freely when farmed?), how we interact with them (why do we pet cats but rarely snakes), and what effects animals have on us (e.g., petting a dog slows your heart rate, and increases your levels of oxytocin making you feel good).
There is an opportunity for you to participate in this research. The attitudes-towards-animals questionnaire is available on-line. Apart from asking your opinion about the characteristics of certain animals, the research is aimed at finding out how these opinions arise. Do we have our opinions because of our age, our gender, our religion, etc.? Please click on the following link http://bit.ly/animal-feelings if you are interested in participating – whether you like animals or do not like them, your opinion is important to us.