ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (10): 1662-1676.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01662

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Traditional pettism: The influence of pet ownership status, pet type, and pet properties on pet moral standing

XU Kepeng1,2,3,4, OU Qianqian5, XUE Hong1,2,3,4, LUO Dongli1,3, ZHANG Shuyue1,2,3,4(), XU Yan6()   

  1. 1Department of psychology, Faculty of Education, Guangxi Normal University, Guilin 541004, China
    2Guangxi College and University Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Applied Psychology, Guilin 541004, China
    3Ethnic Education Development Research Center of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin 541004, China
    4Institute of Chinese National Community, Guangxi Normal University, Guilin 541004, China
    5School of Psychology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
    6Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, National Demonstration Center for Experimental Psychology Education (Beijing Normal University), Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2022-08-23 Published:2023-10-25 Online:2023-08-01
  • Contact: ZHANG Shuyue,XU Yan;


The bond between humans and their pets is becoming ever closer, and the ethical status of pets is also evolving. This article examines how pet owner identity, pet type, and pet properties affect pet moral standing through three studies by dividing pets into traditional and non-traditional categories. The results showed that : (1) Traditional pets are seen as having a higher moral standing than non-traditional pets, which is explained by agency, sensitivity, and harmfulness. (2) Traditional pet owners consider traditional pets to have a higher moral standing than non-traditional pet owners, though there is no major difference in the moral standing of non-traditional pets between the two. (3) Animal Empathy was identified as a mediator between traditional pet attachment and traditional pet moral standing. These findings suggest that pets are viewed differently in terms of morality, which is manifested in traditional petism; and the relationship between pet owners and their pets is a major factor in promoting it.

Key words: moral standing, pet owners, pet, pet attachment, empathy