New research shows that there may be something to the “crazy cat lady” stereotype.
At the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Convention in San Diego this weekend it was announced that dog owners were “higher in well-being, more conscientious, less neurotic, and marginally more extraverted and agreeable than cat owners.”
These findings were released by Katherine Jacobs Bao of Manhattanville College in New York. She also discovered animal owners, in general, led a more satisfied life than non-animal owners.
She published her findings after sending out a questionnaire to 263 participants, half female, half male and all between the ages of 19 and 68 (one refused to answer the survey).
So, are the findings based on the type of person to own a cat vs. own a dog, or do these animals create those personality types? It is hard to determine this chicken or the egg scenario, according to Bao.
“It’s impossible to tell just from my study, but I imagine that it could go both ways,” she told CNET. “Personality likely influences our choices to adopt a pet and which pet we choose, but our personality is not fixed, so it could also be influenced by our relationships with others, including our pets.”
Bao also found that dog owners tended to be happier than cat owners, “which can be partially explained by personality, emotion regulation style, and need satisfaction.”
The outlet also reported that these types of studies — personality traits associated with type of pet ownership — aren’t anything new. Anthrozoologist John Bradshaw found that cats believe their owners are similar to them — i.e. they are also cats. And a University of California, Berkeley study reported that cat people were anxious and dog owners tended to be more outgoing.
Image via Flickr/reader of the pack