Jan. 14, 2010 -- Are you a "cat
person" or a "dog
person"? Even people who don't own either pet
tend to self-identify as one or the other, and the answer may say something
about their personalities, a study shows.
As a rule, dogs are more social and eager to please, while cats are more
introverted and curious.
In the new study, self-described cat and dog people appeared to share these
"Even though we have this widely held idea that dog people and cat people
are somehow different, we haven't really known how they are different and
previous research has failed to tell us," psychologist and study researcher Sam
Gosling, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin, tells WebMD.
He believes this is because earlier studies examined personality differences
in cat and dog owners, failing to account for the fact that a dog person
may actually own a cat and vice versa.
As part of a larger online personality survey, Gosling and colleague Carson
J. Sandy, asked about 4,500 people if they considered themselves dog people or
The 44-question survey delved into the five dimensions of personality
thought to encompass the spectrum of personality types:
Conscientiousness. Common behaviors include self-discipline, sense of duty,
and a tendency toward planned vs. spontaneous behavior.
Extraversion. Tendency toward being gregarious, enthusiastic, positive, and
Agreeableness. Includes attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness,
affection, and sociability.
Openness. Includes traits such as appreciation for the arts, curiosity,
creativity, and nontraditional thinking and behavior.
Neuroticism. Includes characteristics such as being easily stressed,
anxious, or easily worried.
"In terms of personalities I would say Woody Allen is at one end of this
spectrum and the "Dude" from the Big Lebowski is at the other," Gosling
Forty-six percent of those who took the survey identified themselves as dog
people, while 12% said they were cat people. Twenty-eight percent said
they were both and 15% said they were neither.