There have been studies into what personality traits in people lead them to choose a particular kind of pet.
I know you’ve heard of them before. Extroverts prefer dogs while introverts prefer cats (Edelson and Lester 1983). Cats lovers are more autonomous while dog lovers are more social (Kidd and Kidd 1980).
So when Beatrice Alba and Nick Haslam set out to discover how cat and dog people differ in dominance-related traits, the team expected that dog people choose dogs because they are submissive animals, and would therefore be more competitive than cat people, who choose cats for their autonomy. They also expected dog people would be more narcissistic, have higher interpersonal dominance and score higher in Social Dominance Orientation (the preference for inequality among social groups).
They studied two groups of approximately 500 participants each one year apart. The groups had slightly more women than men and ranged in age from 18 to 80.
So what were the team’s findings?
Surprisingly, they found no significant differences between dog and cat people in their levels of assertiveness or narcissism. They did find that dog people scored higher in competitiveness than cat people, and that dog people scored higher in Social Dominance Orientation than cat people.
Based on those findings, Alba and Haslam infer that more conservative people are dog lovers, because of the association between SDO and political conservatives.
So what does this mean for me? It means I want a boss who has a cat!
The study is, “Dog people and cat people differ on dominance-related traits.” by Beatrice Alba and Nick Haslam. I accessed the study through faunalytics.org.