Do personalities determine people’s preference in pets?
If you had to guess whether writer Edgar Allan Poe had a cat or a dog, what would you say? What about the Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr? I’ll give you a hint: one is a cat person, and one is a dog person.
Even if you own both, most people would describe themselves as either a cat or a dog person. Research supports the theory that there is a distinct personality difference between the two types of animal lovers.
In a study conducted by researchers in the Psychology Department at the University of Florida, researchers gave a personality test to 418 undergraduates and a test to learn if they preferred dogs or cats. To understand the differences between cat people and dog people, people who liked both types of pets were not included.
They conclude that dog people are “grounded, pragmatic, and dutiful, as well as warm, outgoing, sociable, expressive and group-oriented.” Cat people, on the other hand, are described as “shy, solitary, impersonal, serious, and nonconformist, but also creative, sentimental, independent and self-sufficient.”
Knowing the major personality differences, it’s not hard to guess that Edgar Allen Poe was a cat lover. Interestingly, many famous writers in history were cat people: T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.
Not surprisingly, the outgoing, social Ringo Starr was a dog person. Other famous dog lovers include Oprah, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Adam Levine – all of whom are extroverted and no strangers to being in the spotlight.
Consistent with these findings, psychologist Sam Gosling conducted a study that shows dog people to be approximately 15 percent more extroverted, 13 percent more agreeable and 11 percent more conscientious as compared to cat people. According to this research, cat lovers are also 12 percent more neurotic, but 11 percent more open than dog lovers.
“Given the tight psychological connections between people and their pets, it is likely that the differences between dogs and cats may be suited to different human personalities,” Gosling says.
Now think about the dog and cat people you know. Do their personalities and pets match up?