Data from: Pawsitively sad: pet-owners are more sensitive to negative emotion in animal distress vocalisations
Parsons, Christine E.; LeBeau, Richard T.; Kringelbach, Morten L.; Young, Katherine S. (2019), Data from: Pawsitively sad: pet-owners are more sensitive to negative emotion in animal distress vocalisations, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ss27j10
Pets have numerous, effective methods to communicate with their human hosts. Perhaps most conspicuous of these are distress vocalisations: in cats, the ‘meow’ and in dogs, the ‘whine’ or ‘whimper’. We compared a sample of young adults who owned cats and or dogs (“pet owners” n=264) and who did not (n=297) on their ratings of the valence of animal distress vocalisations, taken from a standardised database of sounds. We also examined these participants’ self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, and their scores on a measure of interpersonal relationship functioning. Pet owners rated the animal distress vocalisations as sadder than adults who did not own a pet. Cat owners specifically gave the most negative ratings of cat meows compared to other participants, but were no different in their ratings of other sounds. Dog sounds were rated more negatively overall, in fact as negatively as human baby cries. Pet-owning adults (cat only, dog only, both) were not significantly different from adults with no pets on symptoms of depression, anxiety or on self-reported interpersonal relationship functioning. We suggest that pet ownership is associated with greater sensitivity to negative emotion in cat and dog distress vocalisations.