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Title: Dogs can enhance social perceptions: The influence of dogs on women’s perceptions of safety in emotional contexts
Authors: Delgado-Rodríguez, Rafael F.
Mena-Cabrera, Paula
Ordóñez-Pérez, David
Martos-Montes, Rafael
Abstract: Research shows that dogs enhance safety-related social attributes of the individuals whom they accompany. We aimed to expand previous results by examining, in a sample of undergraduate women, the ability of dogs to improve people’s social image in various emotional contexts. Participants (n = 281) assessed the safety-related attributes of a man and a woman depicted alone or accompanied by a dog in threatening and safe contexts. Using semantic differential scales, they were assessed in safety-related attributes that have been shown to be affected by threatening situations and modulated by the presence of a dog: aggressive–nonaggressive, untrustworthy–trustworthy, unfriendly–friendly, and dangerous–harmless. The results indicated that the man (i.e., high-aversive scenes) and woman (i.e., low-aversive scenes) in threatening scenes benefitted from the presence of a dog; they were perceived as less aggressive, more trustworthy, friendly, and harmless when walking with a dog compared with the alone condition. In safe contexts, the man (i.e., low-positive scenes) was also perceived more favorably by the participants when portrayed with a dog (vs. alone); however, the woman (i.e., high-positive scenes) was similarly perceived when alone and when accompanied by a dog, according to the results for the majority of the social perception scales, which indicates a ceiling effect. Overall, the results show that the presence of a dog affects the perception that women have of the owner’s safety-related image in aversive and low-positive contexts; however, dogs do not enhance the already favorable perceptions of owners in high-positive scenes. These findings indicate that the effect of the presence of a dog on individuals’ social image is affected by the emotionality of the context in which they are portrayed.
Keywords: urban public spaces
safety-related characteristics
social perception
human-animal interaction
Issue Date: 14-Nov-2022
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Online
Citation: Delgado-Rodríguez, R., Mena-Cabrera, P., Ordóñez-Pérez, D. y Martos-Montes, R. (2022). Dogs Can Enhance Social Perceptions: The Influence of Dogs on Women’s Perceptions of Safety in Emotional Contexts. Anthrozoös, 36(3).
Appears in Collections:DPS-Artículos

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