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Applying the interpersonal circumplex to the behavioral styles of dogs and cats

By V. Zeigler-Hill, L. Highfill

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Abstract

The present study examined the viability of the interpersonal circumplex, which was designed to examine human social behavior, as a model for considering the behavioral styles of dogs and cats. This was accomplished by recruiting 555 pet owners to report on the behavioral styles of their pets as well as their own interpersonal styles. The instrument used to assess the behavioral styles of household pets conformed to the expected circular structure for both dogs (CI=0.93, P<0.001) and cats (CI=0.93, P<0.001) which suggests that the instrument is suitable for use with at least these non-human species. The results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses found that owners reported more positive attitudes toward their pets when the behavioral styles of their pets complemented their own interpersonal styles. The owners of both dogs and cats were more satisfied when they perceived their pets as exhibiting a level of warmth that was similar to their own but this tendency was especially strong for cat owners. For dominance, however, cat owners reported more positive attitudes toward their pets when there was reciprocity between their own interpersonal styles and the perceived behavioral styles of their pets (e.g., dominant cat owners reported more positive attitudes toward their pets when they perceived their pets as submissive). Complementarity on the dominance dimension did not emerge as a significant predictor of positive attitudes toward dogs.

Date 2010
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 124
Issue 3/4
Pages 104-112
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.02.012
Author Address Department of Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive #5025, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, USA.virgil@usm.edu
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Attitudes
  3. Cats
  4. Dogs
  5. Dominance
  6. Households
  7. Mammals
  8. peer-reviewed
  9. Pets and companion animals
  10. predictions
  11. predictors
  12. Social behavior
  13. Social psychology and social anthropology
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed