Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Do They Really Try to Save Their Buddy? Anthropomorphism about Animal Epimeletic Behaviours

Version 1 : Received: 29 August 2020 / Approved: 31 August 2020 / Online: 31 August 2020 (06:13:03 CEST)

How to cite: Sueur, C.; Forin-Wiart, M.; Pelé, M. Do They Really Try to Save Their Buddy? Anthropomorphism about Animal Epimeletic Behaviours. Preprints 2020, 2020080711 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0711.v1). Sueur, C.; Forin-Wiart, M.; Pelé, M. Do They Really Try to Save Their Buddy? Anthropomorphism about Animal Epimeletic Behaviours. Preprints 2020, 2020080711 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0711.v1).

Abstract

In this study, we asked participants to answer an online questionnaire about videos showing animal epimeletic behaviours: an individual (a sparrow, an elephant and a macaque) displayed behaviours towards an inanimate conspecific who suddenly got back to conscious at the end of the footage. A fourth video showed a dog-robot kicked by an engineer to demonstrate its stability. After each video, questions were asked to score the degree of anthropomorphism of participants, from mentophobia (no attribution whatever the species) to full anthropomorphism and to measure how close participants are to biological reality (actual scientific knowledge). A first important result is that there is a negative correlation (about 61%) between the anthropomorphism score (AS) and the biological reality one (BRS) showing a wrong statement. The heterogeneity of responses proved that all levels of anthropomorphism are covered from mentaphobia to full anthropomorphism. However, the scores participants attributed to animals differ according to the species shown in the video and to human characteristics. Understanding how one can play with these factors can conduct to better relationships with animals as encourage human-robot interactions. Finally, such reflective anthropomorphism can lead to an increase of human empathy and sociality, finally increasing our humanity.

Subject Areas

Empathy; comparative thanatology; cognitive biases; animal ethics; mentaphobia; primates; elephants; birds; robot

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