Off Beat Stories

Jan 25, 2010 7:14 PM by Kate Weidaw

Pet preference predicts people's personality

It's the age old question, are you a cat person or a dog person?

Now new research out of the University of Texas has found depending on how someone answers that question can say a lot about who they are.

"I really like dogs because they are very interactive, I can take him to the park, go swimming, play fetch," said Matt Moore, a self proclaimed dog lover.

Moore's three legged boxer named Big Boy doesn't care that he's missing a leg- he's about as outgoing as they come. And turns out Matt thinks he's pretty outgoing just by owning a dog.

"Outgoing, very personable, love to talk about their dog," said Moore.

Now there's scientific research that proves he's right. Psychology Professor Sam Gosling at the University of Texas discovered there is a difference between self-proclaimed dog and cat people.

"People seem to use these typologies as proxies for getting broad generalizations about people, but all previous research failed to come to a clear answer," said Gosling, Professor of Psychology with the University of Texas.

Gosling surveyed 4,000 people and found dog people are more extroverted, agreeable, and conscientious. If you think of yourself as more of a cat person - Gosling said you're more neurotic but open to new experiences.

But what if you consider yourself both a dog and cat person? Turns out you're more like a dog person but a little neurotic.

The findings do have a practical purpose.

"I think it does have applications down the road for things like animal assisted therapy and matching people to the right type of species," said Gosling. "And there's no reason why we can't go on to look at rabbit people and horse people at some point."

 

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