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.
Daphne Muller is a New York City-based writer who has written for Salon, Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, and reviewed books for ELLE and Publishers Weekly. Most recently, she completed a novel and screenplay. You can follow her on Instagram @daphonay and on Twitter @DaphneEMuller.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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