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Personalities of Self-Identified “Dog People” and “Cat People”

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Alleged personality differences between individuals who self-identify as “dog people” and “cat people” have long been the topic of wide-spread speculation and sporadic research. Yet existing studies offer a rather conflicting picture of what personality differences, if any, exist between the two types of person. Here we build on previous research to examine differences in the Big Five personality dimensions between dog people and cat people. Using a publicly accessible website, 4,565 participants completed the Big Five Inventory and self-identified as a dog person, cat person, both, or neither. Results suggest that dog people are higher on Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness, but lower on Neuroticism and Openness than are cat people. These differences remain significant even when controlling for sex differences in pet-ownership rates. Discussion focuses on the possible sources of personality differences between dog people and cat people and identifies key questions for future research.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175303710X12750451258850

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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