About the closeness between us and the animals
In our world, the ties with animals have been very strong recently. We have become much more sensitive about both pets and wildlife.
Our relationship with animals has started to be deeply researched and discussed in recent years. As the situations in which the animals we share the same world fall on by human hands, feelings of compassion and empathy for animals have started to increase. Apart from health reasons, those who prefer veganism and animal rights activists, as well as people who continue their connection with animals while living in natural life, have become an example to the rest of the society. As a reflection of the emotional need of man for the animal, animal symbols are frequently seen in decoration and in daily life. Animals with animal archetypes and humanoid features in the fairy tales accompanying our inner journey become the subject of various symbolic expressions. While all this was going on, human and animal proximity started to attract the attention of scientists.
Canadian academics, Social Psychologist Catherine Amiot and Brock Bastian studied the psychological connections behind people’s feelings of closeness to other species. In their research, they aimed to determine the extent of animal and human affinity and answer some questions according to this scale. They wanted to reveal the causes of animal-human solidarity phenomenon and the effect of closeness on people. According to their initial findings, humans and animals are surprisingly complex, although there are two different species. The researchers explain where they started off as follows; “Animals are actually everywhere in human life; they make friends with us, find their place in different fields of art and are used to symbolize human behavior. Animals are also used as educational and instructive materials, books and an assistant figure in cinema. Our pets are part of our family. They make our lives easier in many areas. Especially for rural residents. Moreover, the consumption of animals as food is in question, and this is an issue in itself. All this led us to consider our psychological connections with animals and the evolutionary roots we share. We have found that some people see themselves as part of a single social group with animals. These people feel that they lead a life in solidarity with animals. ”
The researchers answer the question of how human-animal solidarity is defined;
“We can say that solidarity is to invest in an activity coordinated with people you feel safe with. Solidarity includes the psychological bond and commitment of someone with other members in the group. From this perspective, we realized that in our relationship with animals, a relationship dynamics like “they are against us” is formed and this affects the relationship with animals negatively. The point is that animals and humans form life on earth together and are in a kind of solidarity. Traditional social identity research looked at how people define themselves within the group. We have broadened the scope of our research and looked at how people see being a group with animals as a social group. Some people see their relationship as solidarity because of the bond they feel with animals. Many of these people feed animals in their homes or somehow share common life with animals. ”
Animal lovers are not afraid to make sacrifices
It was revealed in the research that those who feel closeness to animals have more positive attitudes and behaviors than animals. According to the results of researchers C. Amiot and B. Bastian, animals and humans are both in similarity and experiencing being part of the same community. Similar aspects of humans and animals increase solidarity between them.
A group reported in the study, which is close to animals, are those who feed animals at home. This is predictable. Feeding animals brings sensitivity to the life style and needs of other animals. People who feed many animals see their animals as an integral part of the family. Due to this close relationship, the animal at home is a kind of embassy of other animal species living in nature. Thus, people become more sensitive to the conditions experienced by other animals. These people do not cease to show affinity despite the risk that their resources or privileges may decrease due to their affinity for animals.
Undoubtedly, those who prefer veganism and veganism are another group that shows more attachment to animals. In addition to being preferred in terms of health, orientation to veganism has increased as a result of sensitivity to the situations that animals live in the meat industry. It is said that more scientific studies are needed in this regard.
According to the findings, those who have a feeling of solidarity with animals are more distant with some forms of prejudice such as racism and racism.
The study also found that sensitivity to animals is not related to age, socioeconomic status or religion. Although some scales are used, according to the results, the closeness of some people to animals has also taken place on the scales. This pointed to the immeasurable dimension of the animal-human relationship.
Being close to animals is also related to issues such as empathy and anthromorphism (attribution of human qualities to animals or other entities). It seems that, recently, when animal archetypes and symbols helped us in our efforts to understand life, we will need more research to deeply examine our relationships with animals.
According to the researchers’ observations; People’s empathy experiences are primarily for animals. Even if we didn’t have a pet as a child, the animal pictures and toy animals we see in books are actually the first tools to empathize with animals. This is the first step to feel that we are in solidarity with animals. In this regard, it is possible to say that children who live with animals will potentially be adults with close proximity to animals. In this regard, it can be said that there is a job for parents and society.
“Accepting the animal side of the human self”
Social Psychologists C. Amiot and B. Bastian summarize their goals as follows:
“Fans de Waal, a well-known primatologist, once wrote:“ If some of the other remains within us, if we feel another, then healing their lives will automatically vibrate within us, we will be with us. ” We hope that this research contributes to our understanding of how we can accept and nurture the animal side of the human self. ”