People and Companion Animals: It Takes Two to Tango

Catherine Amiot, Brock Bastian, Pim Martens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Animals have accompanied humans for thousands of years, with a strong bond forged between humans and other species. Our relationships with animals can take different forms. On one hand, animals can serve instrumental purposes: We currently use animals for clothing, for testing a range of human products, for gaining basic insights into human biology and behavior, and as food. On the other hand, human-animal relations are social. The clearest example is the practice of pet keeping, with people attributing a special status to their companion animals. We review the current state of research on human-animal relations by focusing particularly on companion animals and on the psychological mechanisms involved in this special relationship. Our aim is to highlight key findings from human-animal relations research that also have implications for different scientific disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-560
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • companion animals
  • human-animal relations
  • human health


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