When It Comes To Intelligence, Cat Lovers Rule And Dog Lovers Drool
June 2, 2014

When It Comes To Intelligence, Cat Lovers Rule And Dog Lovers Drool

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

In a report that’s sure to stoke the on-going rivalry between cat lovers and dog lovers, researchers from Carroll University found that cat lovers are smarter than dog lovers.

Presented last month at the annual Association for Psychological Science convention in San Francisco, the report also found that cat lovers are more introverted, sensitive and open-minded than dog lovers – while concluding that ‘dog people’ tend to be more lively, out-going and energetic.

“It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they’re going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog,” said study researcher Denise Guastello, an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University. “Whereas, if you’re more introverted, and sensitive, maybe you’re more at home reading a book, and your cat doesn’t need to go outside for a walk.”

The study was based on a survey of 600 college students that asked if they preferred cats or dogs and what qualities they preferred in their pets. The survey also included several questions designed to determine personality traits.

The study researchers found the respondents consisted of about 60 percent dog lovers and 11 percent cat lovers – with the rest saying they like both or neither. Dog-lover respondents said they prioritized companionship in their pets – while cat lovers said they thought affection was the most important quality in a pet.

The study researchers speculated that a pet preference may simply be a reflection of a person’s own personality. For instance, cats are seen as independent and introverted – and these qualities in a pet could be prized by certain people.

The team speculated that their findings could also inform pet therapy strategies, which are often used in rehabilitation settings.

While the new study may not flatter dog lovers, previous research has shown that canines in the workplace can boost employees’ morale and lower stress.

In a study published in 2012 by the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, researchers found that dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress during the workday for their owners and make the job more gratifying for those with whom they come into contact.

“Although preliminary, this study provides the first quantitative study of the effects of employees’ pet dogs in the workplace setting on employee stress, job satisfaction, support and commitment,” said study author Randolph T. Barker, professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference,” he said. “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”

The study team found that during the course of the work day, self-reported stress fell for employees with their dogs present and rose for non-pet owners and dog owners who did not bring their dogs to work. The team noted that stress rose during the day when owners left their dogs at home compared to days they brought them to work.

“Pet presence may serve as a low-cost, wellness intervention readily available to many organizations and may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support. Of course, it is important to have policies in place to ensure only friendly, clean and well-behaved pets are present in the workplace,” Barker said.