By One Clear, Scientific Measure, Dogs and Cats Love Like Humans Do
This is where neuroscience is answering some important questions and begging entirely new ones.
Oxytocin is a hormone that all people make when they feel love and human connection. But it turns out that we’re not the only ones. Animals also produce the chemical compound when they feel connected to other living creatures.
While it may seem that humans and dogs (even cats) would produce oxytocin in their interactions with one another, Claremont University researchers found that 30 percent of the time human Oxytocin levels increased when people interacted with dogs, while interactions with cats were a close second. Most surprisingly, however, animals are more likely to produce it when they are around other animals. In one case study, a goat was thought to be in love with a dog and the dog considered the goat a very good friend.
While we may have cognitive dissonance about animal feelings when we eat a steak, Americans may be catching up to their attachment to animals: Recent data has shown that we are eating less and less meat every year.
Although it isn’t too surprising that cats and dogs feel a neurological connection to us, it is remarkable that animals across species feel the same intensity of feeling about one another. It’s even been argued that all animals are sentient, feeling animals. Even octopuses — invertebrates — play and show affection.
While we may have cognitive dissonance about animal feelings when we eat a steak, Americans may be catching up to their attachment to animals: Recent data has shown that we are eating less and less meat every year. Maybe our attachment to Spot and Mittens is translating over into our empathy with the great animal population. Let’s hope — sympathizing with animals could not only positively affect climate change, but also potentially help us live longer.
NYU philosopher Dale Jamieson poses fundamental questions about human and animal rights.
Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned mindfulness leader, teaches meditation at Big Think Edge.
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- Sharon Salzberg teaches mindfulness meditation for Big Think Edge.
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The navigation tool has placed a school in the sea, among other things.
- Google has apologized for the sudden instability of its maps in Japan.
- Errors may stem from Google's long-time map data provider Zenrin – or from the cancellation of its contract.
- Speculation on the latter option caused Zenrin shares to drop 16% last Friday.
Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.
- Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
- Recent glacial melting, caused by climate change, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
- While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.
A new computer model solves a pair of Jovian riddles.
- Astronomers have wondered how a gas giant like Jupiter could sit in the middle of our solar system's planets.
- Also unexplained has been the pair of asteroid clusters in front of and behind Jupiter in its orbit.
- Putting the two questions together revealed the answer to both.
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