Animal Studies Bibliography

Eddy, Timothy J., Gordon G. Gallup, Jr., and Daniel J. Povinelli. 1993. Attribution of cognitive states to animals: Anthropomorphism in comparative perspective. Journal of Social Issues 49 (1): 87-101.

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of mental processes and other traits from human experience to animals. The authors argue that it is an extension of the human introspective modeling capacity through which we predict and explain others' behavior based on our own experience. This phenomenon can be explained by attribution theory.


Consistent with the bias toward the similar in attributions to other humans, it was hypothesized that subjects would be more likely to attribute cognitive states to animals similar to humans.

Independent Variables/Operational Definitions

(1) The animal's similarity to humans, as judged by Rs--study included a list of 30 animals, representing all levels of the phylogenetic scale; similarity index composed of responses to degree to which you feel the animal is similar to you and degree to which you feel the animal experiences the world in a way that is similar to the way [you do]

Dependent Variables/Operational Definitions

(1) Attribution of cognitive functions to the animals--cognitive ability index composed of responses to three items: animal's ability to trick another animal to get food for itself; whether animal could recognize itself in a mirror; whether animal could tell the difference between being tripped over and being kicked


Animals' similarity rating was correlated with their place on the phylogenetic scale and with the amount of cognitive function respondents attributed to them. Anthropomorphic attribution is thus based on a pattern, rather than carried out indiscriminately. People most often attribute cognitive functions to animals physically similar to humans or animals with which they have a particular bond (e.g. house pets). Further research must determine whether the same pattern occurs in attribution of emotional states to animals, whether our attributions are scientifically correct, and whether animals engage in zoomorphism.

Sample/population sampled

The sample consisted of 104 undergraduate volunteers enrolled in introductory psychology at SUNY, Albany. The study was conducted early in the semester to ensure the subjects had had limited exposure to psychology.


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