A surprising, slightly random, study found that college students are more empathetic towards battered dogs than they are for battered adult humans.

Northeastern University professors studied 240 students who were mostly white and between 18 and 25 years old. They had each student read one fictional article about one of these four victims: a child, an adult, a puppy or an adult dog.

After rating students' empathy for each of the victims, the study found that students were more empathetic towards the dog than the adult. However, the difference between the level of empathy for the child and puppy was very, very little.

The results suggest that age might trump species. Also, dogs are seen as just larger puppies whereas adults are viewed as capable of protecting themselves.

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