Personality Characteristics of Dog and Cat Persons
-Rose M. Perrine and Hannah L. Osbourne
-Eastern Kentucky University
o There are no differences between pet owners and non owners on personality
variables such as self-acceptance, self-esteem, social self-esteem, extraversion, or
o There are no differences in self-esteem, social self-esteem, or extraversion among
owners with different levels of attachment to their pets.
o But there is also research that suggests that pet owners have higher self-esteem
than do non owners and that years of pet-ownership is negatively related to
neuroticism and alienation.
Pet owners claimed not to like people as much as non owners, nor did they feel as liked
Compared with non owners, pet owners scored higher on measures of social sensitivity
and interpersonal trust, spent significantly more time each day in socializing with others,
and were less independent and less likely to avoid lasting obligations.
Children with strong bonds with a pet had higher social competency and empathy scores.
Dog and cat owners did not differ on self-esteem, social self-esteem, extraversion, or self-
However, research suggests that preference for dogs or cats may be related to personality.
o Male cat-lovers were higher on autonomy than were male dog-lovers or female
cat and dog-lovers.
o Male dog-lovers were higher, and female cat-lovers were lower, on dominance
than the other groups.
o Male and female cat-lovers were lower on nurturance than male and female dog-
o Male dog-lovers were higher on aggression than the other groups.
Why should dog and cat lovers differ in personality?
One possibility: Childhood pet ownership affects adult personality.
An environment which produces a dominant and aggressive adult male may be created by
parents who prefer dogs over cats.
Dog-ownership by a child elicits responses from others that reinforce personality traits
like dominance and aggression.
Owners of high aggression dogs were significantly more likely to be tense, emotionally
less stable, shy, and undisciplined than the owners of low aggression dogs.
The personality of a dog lover may be influenced by an environment in which a dog is
Cats have less social needs than do dogs.
The child-rearing environment of adult cat-lovers may have been created by parents who
Cats are perceived as more independent, aloof, and less affectionate than dogs.
o Females are more likely to own cats than dogs, and rank cats higher in preference
to won than dogs.
o Males with masculine sex-role orientations were less likely to play with a kitten
than were males with feminine or androgynous sex role orientations.
o Cats may be perceived as more feminine and dogs as more masculine.
o Expectations before the study: Dog persons were to be perceived as more
masculine, athletic, and dominant than cat persons, and cat persons were to be
perceived as more feminine and independent than dog persons.
o Most people reported either positive or neutral feelings towards dogs and cats,
however some people reported that they either “did not like” or “hated” dogs/cats.
o No significant differences between pet owners and non owners on how much they
liked people, or how much people liked them.
o Pet owners indicated that they liked pets more than did the non pet owners.
o There was a significant difference in past experience (growing up with pets) with
dogs versus cats.
o Dog persons rated themselves as more masculine than did cat persons.
o Dog persons rated themselves as more independent than did cat persons.
o Compared with people who liked cats, people who disliked cats rated themselves
lower in femininity.
o Males who disliked cats rated themselves lower in femininity than any other
o There were no significant differences in perceptions of dog versus cat persons as a
function of the participants’ gender or self-label.
o Dog persons were perceived as less feminine than were cat persons.
o Male dog persons were perceived as less feminine than were male cat persons,
female dog persons, and female cat persons.
o Males were perceived as more athletic than females and dog persons were
perceived as more athletic than cat persons.
o Males were perceived as more dominant than females and dog persons were
perceived as more dominant than cat persons.
o Male dog persons were perceived as more dominant than were male cat persons,
female dog persons, and female cat persons.
o Results showed no differences in personality between people who owned
dogs/cats and people who did not.
o Several differences were found as a function of label.
o Dog persons rated themselves higher on masculinity than did cat persons,
independent of gender.
o Dog persons were perceived as more masculine than cat persons.
o Dog persons rated themselves higher than did cat persons.
o Other perceived male dog persons to be more dominant than male cat persons,
and female dog and cat persons.
o Dog persons were perceived as more athletic than cat persons.
o There was no relationship between past and present ownership of dogs or cats, but
there was a relationship between the quality of ones’ past experience with these
animals and current ownership.
o Many dog lovers indicated that they disliked cats, and many cat lovers said that
they dislike dogs.
o There were no differences between pet owners and non owners on how much they
liked others or how much they perceived others to like them.
o Dog and cat persons perceived that others liked them more than did people who
were neither dog nor cat persons.
Pets and Personality Development
Boris M. Levinson
o The way people treat them reflects how they treat other people and how people
feel about themselves.
o They remind people of their own animal origins.
o Says…what man did not learn (virtues) from other people, he learned from
o Plays such as Annie Urban hunger for meaningful contact with animal
Personality development of individuals with animal companion is different from someone
without animal companion.
Pet ownership aids in development of adaptive personality traits.
Animal companion: Strongest impact during middle childhood and old age.
Pets and families:
o Each member interacts with pet.
o Members interact with each other because of pet.
Children: Those who take role as “parent” of pet can better understand their parents’
Pets Unconditional love Aids in a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Relating
with a pet teaches children how to relate with peers.
Old Age: Pets solve loneliness and retards devolution and senility.
Personality Characteristics and Self-Esteem in Pet Owners and Non-owners
Suzanne B. Johnson and Warren R. Rule
Testing of pet-owners and non-pet-owners based on 4 hypotheses:
o Pet-owners have more self-esteem (overall)
o Pet-owners have more social self-esteem
o Pet-owners will be more extraverted
o Pet-owners will show lower levels of neuroticism
o Give people…
close contact relationship
sense of self-respect
contact with reality
o Provide emotional, physical, and mental benefits
As socioeconomic status rises, happiness from pets rises.
Results of tests:
o No significant differences between pet-owners and non-pet-owners.
o No significant differences between DOG and CAT owners on social desirability,
age, and those 4 personality traits listed above.
It is possible that pet owners are very shy and substitute pets as human peers.
Pet-owners may be victims of social stereo-typing.Perceived as more lively,
extraverted, social, and higher self-esteem.
Lack of differences could be due to socioeconomic status of the subjects in the
experimentSubjects were in low-middle to middle classes. Perhaps there would be
greater differences with greater varieties of socioeconomic statuses.
Personality and Pet Ownership: A Preliminary Study
Julie Edelson and David Lester
o More likely to own a cat, but no more likely to own a dog, bird, or fish.
o Ranked dogs lower in preference.
o Ranked cats lower and birds higher.
o More likely to own a dog and less likely to own a cat.
Psychological Correlates of Pet Ownership
Paul Cameron and Michael Mattson
Pet-owners claimed not to like people as much nor to feel as liked by others as non-
Pet-owners have less felt regard from others.
Urban pet-owners scored lower on the ego-strength scale.
Non-owners’ claimed liking of people is greater than their claimed liking of pets.
Relationships between Pet Ownership and Self-Esteem, Social Sensitivity, and Interpersonal
Karen R. Hyde, Lawrence Kurdek, and Paul Larson
Speculation that owning pets can reduce depression, loneliness, alienation, and increase
self-esteem, empathy, unselfishnessB/c pets provide unconditional love and
Pet-owners like pets more than people.
Experiment: College-aged pet-owners and non-pet-owners on self-esteem, social
sensitivity, and interpersonal trust.
o Pet-owners have higher scores of empathy and trust.
o There is no significance difference in self-esteem.
o OutcomePet ownership is beneficial.
Personality Correlates of Brand Loyalty
Consumer behavior should equally be affected by the personality of the individual.
Objective of the study: To find out whether a consumer’s personality is related to his
repeat purchase behavior in terms of brand loyalty and brand switching.
1. Personality has a hierarchical structureBrand loyalty may be viewed as an
expression of some basic personality trait.
2. Inhibition builds up faster among extroverts than among introvertsExtraverts
will be more quickly tired of using the same brand.
3. Inhibition dissipates more slowly among extroverts than among
introvertsExtraverts are less likely than introverts to switch to the original
4. Extraverts seek greater environmental stimulationExtraverts are apt to try more
number of brands than introverts.
o Those who are relatively more brand loyal score less both on extraversion and
neuroticism scales, compared to those who are relatively less loyal to a brand.
o Extraverts try a greater variety of brands than introverts.
o Personality is related to consumer repeat purchase behavior.
o Data supports hypotheses 1, 2, and 4. The 3rd hypothesis is not supported by
statistical significance, but the trend is in the expected direction.
Some Relationships Between Personality and Consumer Decision Making
Raymond L. Horton
Criticisms of personality research are generally of 4 kinds:
1. Personality traits do not have a pervasive influence on consumer behavior but
rather are situation bound.
2. The specific personality tests used must be carefully justified in the context of
3. Specific brand choice and brand loyalty are often inappropriate dependent
4. The stimulus presented to subjects is generally unique.
It is more likely that significant and possibly strong relationships with personality will be
found in the procedures consumers adopt for approaching, modifying, simplifying, and
reacting to their marketing environments.
3 elements were chosen to guide the selection of brands within the experimental product
o company visibility or identification to consumers as a producer of the product
o package size
o price per unit
Objective: To create brand choices within each product class which differed in their value
for reducing perceived risk.
o The more visible manufacturer with the higher priced brand would be viewed by
consumers as a less risky choice,.
o The small size of both manufacturers’ brands would be regarded by subjects as a
less risky choice.
o Subjects low in self-confidence and/or high in anxiety will tend to select the HI/P
brand (alternatives A and B) more frequently than subjects high in self-confidence
and low in anxiety.
o There will be an interaction between product class perceived risk and personality
such that subjects low in self-confidence and/or high in anxiety will tend to select
the HI/P brand proportionately more frequently as product class perceived risk
Assumption: Subjects high in anxiety and/or low in self-confidence would tend to use the
HI/P brand as an external referent or anchor on which to make their decisions more
frequently than subjects with the opposite traits and that such relationships would become
stronger with increasing product class perceived risk.
The expected relationship between the personality traits anxiety and self-confidence and
the choice of the HI/P brand was linear and inverse linear, respectively.
o The hypotheses about interactions between product class perceived risk and the
anxiety and self-confidence personality traits failed to be substantiated.
o The analysis generally confirms the predicted relationship between subjects’ self-
confidence and anxiety and their brand choice behavior for the first, but not the
second, general hypothesis, the pattern of relationships by product class is quite
varied with no single personality variable significant in more than 3 product
o The tests confirmed the expected relationships between choice strategy behavior
and the personality traits self-confidence and anxiety.
Dimensions of Brand Personality
Jennifer L. Aaker
Brand personality: Refers to the set of human characteristics associated with a brand.
Research on brand personality and the symbolic use of brands more generally has
remained limited due in part to the lack of consensus regarding what brand personality
The symbolic use of brands is possible because consumers often imbue brands with
human personality traits.
The greater the congruity between the human characteristics that consistently and
distinctively describe an individual’s actual or ideal self and those that describe a brand,
the greater the preference for the brand.
Perceptions of human personality traits are inferred on the basis of an individual’s
behavior, physical characteristics, attitudes, and beliefs, and demographic characteristics.
Perceptions of brand personality traits can be formed and influenced by any direct or
indirect contact that the consumer has with the brand.
Brand personality includes demographic characteristics such as gender and class.
Experiment: Well-known brands were chosen so that a national sample could be used; a
wide variety of brands representing a spectrum of personality types was selected to
enhance the scope of the scale; and a range of product categories, both symbolic and
utilitarian, was drawn upon to enhance scale generalizability.
One reason for the weak findings in the self-congruity literature may be due to the
asymmetric relationship in the structure of brand versus human personality.
Brand personality dimensions might operate in different ways or influence consumer
preference for different reasons.
Brand personality increases consumer preference and usage, evokes emotions in
consumers, and increases levels of trust and loyalty.
The extent to which brand personality dimensions are cross culturally generalizable must
Human personality dimensions must remain robust across cultures, the same may not be
so for brand personality because of differences in the antecedents of the two constructs.
In individualist cultures, where independence, autonomy, and uniqueness are valued,
consumers are more likely to use brands to express how they are different from members
of their in-group.
In collectivist cultures, where interdependence, conformity, and similarity are valued,
consumers are more likely to use brands to express how they are similar to members of