Laboratory aggression where the victim is a small dog

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Knud S. Larsen
Jim Ashlock
Chris Carroll
Susan Foote
John Feeler
Ernest Keller
Gordon Seese
David Watkins
Cite this article:  Larsen, K., 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.

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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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