Children and Adolescents who are Kind to Animals

Children's and adolescents' positive attitudes and behaviors toward animals are analyzed in the general context of their attitudes to and interactions with animals, and within a theoretical framework that places great emphasis on the significance of humans' relationship with diversity. Here I will adopt a broad definition of diversity, whereby diversity is all that is not the self or, more precisely, all that is not the present self. The sense of diversity is a fundamental aspect of human experience, and its development is achieved through extremely complex cognitive and emotional processes. The role of empathy, the effect of a caring and affectionate attitude toward animals on the child's cognitive and emotional development, the relationship between attachment to animals and interest in their welfare on one hand and positive interhuman relations on the other hand, the relationship between attachment to animals and experience of and attitude toward nature, and the role of cultures are discussed. Children's and adolescents' benevolent attitudes and behaviors toward animals are juxtaposed with the competitive life pattern that is now prevailing in our societies. The role of adults in affecting children and adolescents' interactions with animals is also considered, especially with
reference to social contexts like the family and school and to social institutions like zoos and circuses where animals are used. In order to illustrate these points data are also drawn on some studies we conducted on Italian children's and adolescents' attitudes and behaviors toward animals.

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Contributo in volume
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Springer, New York, USA
The Psychology of the Human-Animal Bond, edited by Blazina, C.; Boyraz, G.; Shen-Miller, D., pp. 289–305. New York: Springer, 2011
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Camilla Pagani's picture
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