The attribution of human-like traits to non-human animals, termed anthropomorphism, can lead to misunderstandings of animal behaviour, which can result in risks to both human and animal wellbeing and welfare. In this paper, we, during an inter-disciplinary collaboration between social computing and animal behaviour researchers, investigated whether a simple image-tagging application could improve the understanding of how people ascribe intentions and emotions to the behaviour of their domestic cats. A web-based application, Tagpuss, was developed to present casual users with photographs drawn from a database of 1631 images of domestic cats and asked them to ascribe an emotion to the cat portrayed in the image. Over five thousand people actively participated in the study in the space of four weeks, generating over 50,000 tags. Results indicate Tagpuss can be used to identify cat behaviours that lay-people find difficult to distinguish. This highlights further expert scientific exploration that focuses on educating cat owners to identify possible problems with their cat’s welfare.
|Publisher||University of Lincoln|
|Location of Publication||Lincoln, United Kingdom, LN6 7TS|
|Conference Title||3rd International Conference on Social Computing|
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