Testing and Extending the Pets as Ambassadors Hypothesis: The Role of Contact with Pets and Recategorization Processes in Predicting Positive Attitudes toward Animals

Béatrice Auger & Catherine E. Amiot

Université du Québec à Montréal

According to the pets as ambassadors hypothesis (Serpell & Paul, 1994), contact with pets can promote more positive attitudes toward animals in general and serve as a springboard toward concerns for a broader range of animals. Building on intergroup contact theory and the common ingroup identity model, the current research aimed to test and extend the pets as ambassadors hypothesis as well as investigate its underlying mechanisms. Specifically, two studies aimed to test whether contact with pets -- as a specific type of cross-group friendship -- can predict more positive attitudes toward animals in general through recategorization and self-expansion processes. Extending the pets as ambassadors hypothesis, we also verified if inclusion of a favorite pet in the self could predict identification with nature. Two correlational studies conducted at the University of Quebec in Montreal tested these associations.

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Keywords: ambassadors, extending pets, Testing
Posted in 2017, Volume 5, No. 1