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Vicious Dogs Part 2: Criminal Thinking, Callousness, and Personality Styles of Their Owners

Authors

  • Allison M. Schenk B.A.,

    1. Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, 53 Campus Drive, 1222 Life Sciences Building, PO Box 6040, Morgantown, WV 26506-6040.
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  • Laurie L. Ragatz M.S.,

    1. Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, 53 Campus Drive, 1222 Life Sciences Building, PO Box 6040, Morgantown, WV 26506-6040.
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  • William J. Fremouw Ph.D, A.B.P.P.

    1. Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, 53 Campus Drive, 1222 Life Sciences Building, PO Box 6040, Morgantown, WV 26506-6040.
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Additional information and reprint requests:
Allison M. Schenk, B.A.
Department of Psychology
West Virginia University
53 Campus Drive
1222 Life Sciences Building
PO Box 6040
Morgantown, WV 26506-6040
E-mail: Allison.Schenk@mail.wvu.edu

Abstract

Abstract:  Every year over 885,000 dog bites require serious medical attention. Based on human injury and insurance claims, six dog breeds were designated as “vicious” (Akitas, Chows, Dobermans, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Wolf-mixes). This study was conducted to expand on previous research examining antisocial tendencies and personality styles of people choosing to own vicious breeds. Seven hundred and fifty-four college students completed a questionnaire assessing type of dog owned, criminal thinking, callousness, personality, alcohol usage, and deviant lifestyle behaviors. Vicious dog owners reported significantly higher criminal thinking, entitlement, sentimentality, and superoptimism tendencies. Vicious dog owners were arrested, engaged in physical fights, and used marijuana significantly more than other dog owners. However, the homogeneous sample utilized could impact the generalizability of these findings. Choosing to own a vicious dog may be a “thin slice” indicator of more antisocial tendencies.

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