The Relation of Clade-Specific Biophilia to the Construct of Animality

Aurelio José Figueredo, Mateo Peñaherrera-Aguirre, Catherine Salmon, Netzin Gerald Steklis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The main purpose of this study was to examine whether the nonhuman animal affinities described by the proposed psychometric construct of Animality might be distributed unequally across different kinds of animals. Thus, we explored how respondent Animality scores correlated with clade-specific self-reports of cognitive and emotional empathy toward specific animal categories. To do so, we applied the Concentric Circles Model, three concentric circles of nonhuman animal clades based on their figurative outwards distance from humanity: Kith and Kin Animals, including kith clades such as dogs and cats as well as kin clades such as primates; Domestic Animals, including cows, pigs, sheep, and goats; and Wild Animals, including catfish, carp, snakes, and spiders. Undergraduate participants from a Southwestern university completed a survey assessing their levels of Animality as well as their attitudes toward nonhuman animals from all three concentric circles. These data replicated the previously published hierarchical latent structure of Animality. The higher-order General Factor of Animality (GFA) loaded positively onto two lower-order factors: Attraction to Animals and Emotional Regard for Animals. The GFA was most highly positively correlated with Kith and Kin Animal Cognitive-Emotional Empathy, less highly correlated with Domestic Cognitive-Emotional Empathy, and least highly correlated with Wild Cognitive-Emotional Empathy; the GFA was also positively correlated with General Animal Harm Avoidance. In this sense, Animality seems to capture significant aspects of Clade-Specific Biophila in a manner consistent with the Concentric Circles Model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-327
Number of pages11
JournalEvolutionary Psychological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Animality
  • Clade-specific biophilia
  • Cognitive empathy
  • Emotional empathy
  • Harm avoidance
  • Human-animal interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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