Fur What It’s Worth Presents: Furry Psychology with Nuka

Fur What It’s Worth Presents: Furry Psychology with Nuka


hello and welcome to this internet presentation of furry psychology also known as something for recent are quotes that isn’t to topia I am Yuka good-looking fellow and I confess that I am in fact a furry in addition to being a furry I’m also a doctor although not one of these kinds of doctors in fact I am was known as a social psychologist a social psychologist is a psychologist or a scientist who specifically studies human interaction and the environmental factors that influence human behaviors or how people in the environments around us can influence our behavior in particular I’m a social psychologist who studies the real-world effects that playing video games has on us so people play by the heel games how does that affect their real-world violence and aggression but I also study much more broadly fantasy worlds so people become immersed in stories or games or books what happens to them as they sort of allow themselves to treat this non reality as though it were reality how does that change how they think and how they think what the world around them but perhaps most relevant to the talk today I also studied furries I don’t study furries alone I study furries as part of the international anthropomorphic research project a team of social scientists who like myself also study furries this team of researchers includes dr. Kathleen Gavazzi who is a social psychologist working out of the Niagara County Community College in New York State and despite not being a furry dr. Gracia does in fact have a fur suit my colleague dr. Stephen racin who is down at Texas A&M university-commerce and despite not being a furry enough having a first who does have a four so now Carthon Bruegel is the only other furry on the team so she does have a persona and she is a furry in her non-academic life and finally my colleague dr. Sharon Roberts at the University of Waterloo is not a furry but has had a multitude of personas including most recent one which may in fact be a coconut we at the international anthropomorphic research project do science that means that we form hypotheses about furries we start off with some kind of idea that we want to test we don’t just walk around asking people questions for the fun of it we’re typically trying to answer some kind of question whether this question came from our own observations questions that other people have asked us or searching through the psychological literature and looking at questions that from both from there typically once we have these questions we try to collect data to answer these questions usually this data comes from furries at conventions or from online surveys so we go around and collect a lot of data on furries anthem on furries to be able to compare furries to let me take that data all those numbers and we crunch them we analyze them in the hopes of coming up with some kind of conclusive answer to our initial question and if all goes well we end up publishing the results now when I say we publish our results there’s a number of different places where this data ends up being published in the end one places on our research websites the anthropomorphic research project websites another place where our data is made available is in academic peer-reviewed academic journals so these are journals that psychologists or sociologists can go to and you know learn about furries and the research that we’re doing we say peer-reviewed because this is research that other scientists actually scrutinize themselves so not every article or every minute ever written gets published in these locations typically other scientists have to look through it to be critical of it in order for it to be published finally one of the places that our data winds up is in the media oftentimes reporters or people will come to us asking us to provide some information about furries typically in the aftermath of some calamity or some incident that furries were involved in people want to know you know what are these furries were usually one of the first people they end up coming to so in this presentation we’re going to be talking about data so what we’re talking about these results here it’s not a handful of furries that we talk to at a convention once is not an anecdote or a story that we heard while talking to a Ferrari at a bar or something like that the data typically represents on the collective sort of responses of hundreds of furries in some cases thousands of furries collect over the last five years so talking about more than two dozen studies we’re talking about thousands of pieces of data which have been published in more than 15 peer-reviewed scientific journals so we’re talking about a lot of data here the shortened version of the data looks something like this so enough talking about the data enough talking about science in an abstract way let’s get our hands dirty and actually get into the science itself this is the plan for today to start off by defining what we mean by a furry before talking about one of the things that most furries do which is to create a persona lost talk about some of the other things that furry to that sort of linker unites this fandom we’ll talk about some of the different demographic composition of the fandom so we look around the phantom what are we talking about in terms of age and gender and ethnic composition we’ll talk a little bit about the fandom and how it relates to other fandoms similar to furries but also different from furries and finally answer that age-old question Arthur is crazy to start off though let’s ask ourselves what’s a furry it’s important to know what a furry is before we start researching furries because depending on the definition of a furry that we use we’re going to wind up with dramatically different results now there are a number of definitions of furries have already existed out there that various people have come up with from time to time but a lot of them are problematic from a research perspective so for example one could define furries as people who like or do a certain behavior so we could say that furries for example are people who wear fur suits that’s our definition of a furry well if that’s the case what about all those furries who don’t wear a fur suits there’s no one behavior that we’ve been able to find so far that every single furry agrees with and as as part of something that they do so necessarily if we defined furry this way we’d be leaving out a lot of furries what’s more is that any behavior that we can come up with that all furries do it’s unlikely that other people who aren’t furries don’t also engage in this behavior so for example to use our first you begin there are people who wear fur suits our first suit like costumes that wouldn’t call themselves furries so if we define furries as people who wear costumes we got wanted up with a lot of people who don’t call themselves furries but would find themselves in our studies so we can’t use behaviors or attitudes as definition of furry but if we just see it fur is a certain type of person or if we give people a personality test or ask people a certain set of questions find the high score on them we could determine that this type of person is a very well that wouldn’t be so bad except that we’re very dynamic we change over time the kind of person you were five years ago isn’t the kind of person you are today and it’s not the same person you’re going to be five years from now so if we say a furries a certain type of person what we’re saying is that and given that we know that personality tends to be pretty consistent across age that we’re saying that you know from the age of two or three years old before people really know what fur he is or know much about anything they’re already a fur you just don’t know it yet so and what’s more is that we can have people who are furries but leave the fandom as you find later on you have a lot of people who leave the Fantom at about the age of thirty and so the question is if it’s a certain type of person how can you stop being it after a certain time so these definitions don’t really work for the purpose of cold pragmatic research so we hit the International anthropomorphic research project endeavor to come up with their own definition and it looks like this furries are people who call themselves furries now at first glance this isn’t a particularly satisfying answer so the question of what a furries this seems kind of circular almost or very least it doesn’t tell us anything about furries so we’ll try again and use this definition further people who self-identify with an interest in Africa more facin so in trying to define what a furry is we’re saying that the people who identify with some interest in this case an interest in add took morphism the giving of human traits to animals or animal traits to humans zoo morphism now this isn’t a terrible definition it’s a little more satisfying than a previous one but I want to show you this is actually a pretty good definition at least for the purpose of doing psychological research especially social psychological research and I want to compare it to another label another identity that people typically apply to themselves and that’s political affiliation so you can imagine for example that I walk up to you and say hello I’m Nika and I’m a Democrat or I’m Nuka I’m a Republican now that’s a useful label for me to use because by telling you what my political orientation you also know a few other pieces of information about me you likely know a little bit about my morals and values you know a little bit about the kinds of people I associate with may even know a little bit about some of my behavior you know what political rallies I’ve had attend or how I’m going to vote in the next election so this is a useful piece of information a useful label to apply to myself because by telling you my political orientation you know a whole bunch of other stuff about me it’s quite central to who I am as a person compare this to me saying hallo I’m Nuka and I’m a chocolate lover now knowing that I’m a chocolate lover doesn’t really tell you a lot else about me you don’t really know anything about my political orientation you don’t know about my most of my behavior you don’t know anything about the kinds of people I think you know with my morals and my values are still quite mysterious to use so this isn’t a particularly useful label to apply because it doesn’t tell anyone anything about me this is why a label like a political label is an important one that people typically naturally use to define themselves versus something like chocolate lover which isn’t particularly useful and we would argue that for furries these are people for whom an interest in anthropomorphism is central to their identity that by knowing that you’re a furry I know something about who you are the kinds of people you hang out with some of your morals and values and that’s what distinguishes a furry from someone who likes the occasional show that involves at Norfolk characters they may like these shows just like furries too but there’s something else furries defined themselves by that liking and it’s very central to who they are and helps you understand a lot about them in the way that it doesn’t define a non furry so it’s a little complex but that’s the definition that we’re working from that’s why the use of the label to apply to yourself is the most central feature of this definition now in talking about what furries are it’s also important to distinguish the furry fandom and members of it from related overlapping identities as well in this case we’re going to talk about two of them the brony fandom and therians now bronies who are fans of the television show My Little Pony are also a fandom like the furry fandom and it over that’s quite a bit in the sense that these are people who tend to be fans of a show that feature walking talking cartoon animals in the same way that furries are fans of walking talking animals so our first plans you may think that these are pretty much overlapping identical groups and in fact there’s some truth to this we find that about 20 to 25 percent of furries also call themselves bronies so that’s definitely some overlap between these two categories we don’t have data on the flip side how many bronies call themselves furries but we do know based on debates that you see online that not all bronies consider themselves to be furries in fact there’s kind of a debate right now with furries cleaning or many furries at least claiming that bronies like it or not technically countess for reason a lot of bronies who say that they’re bronies not fur that the two distinct sort of constructs so you can see here why it’s important to use clear definitions of what a furry is because if we kind of describe furry by a certain behavior if we said oh it’s anyone who watches any show that has walkies animals we might want been a bunch of bronies who don’t consider them selphie furries and who might respond very differently to some of our items have asked now when you asked furries how they feel about Bernie’s you get a very mixed response so but one-third of furries are pretty positive it’s war its bronies they say you know what and many of these are burning themselves and they say you know what’s that’s a fantastic addition to the furry fandom they like at morphic animals just like me too the more the merrier if I’ve got about 25% of furries are really ambivalent on the issues they don’t really have a strong opinion one way or another they’re perfectly happy to have bronies in the fan who but they’re not gonna fight infinitely for then it’s kind of like a take it or leave it we also find that about 40% of the furry fandom is humanely opposed to Bernice in the fandom so they absolutely want nothing to do with bronies at the Phantom and if they had it their way bronies wouldn’t be part of the Phantom ones together now this is surprising when we look back and you realize that the interests of furs and Barone’s overlap so much at the very beginning we were saying that it seems like on paper furries and burning should essentially be the same thing and yet you see here why it’s so important to make a distinction 40% of furries feel very strongly that bronies aren’t a part of the fandom and so it’s important to be very clear what we mean by furries and what we mean by Bernese now we’re trying to understand why some furries dislike bronies from the Phantom we can sort of look at this attitude right here take a page out of Donald Trump’s playbook and look at it as bronies are invading our phantom this is the reason given by many furries for why they don’t like bronies in the fandom this idea that bronies come from outside the fandom and they somehow invade the fandom to bring with with them memes and tropes and artwork and and things that are sort of foreign or from the outside of the furry fandom now I want to argue that this isn’t actually supported by the data the data suggests that anything bronies in the furry fandom are furries who’ve been furries for quite some time longer than not race in fact and so bronies in the furry fandom aren’t coming from outside the typically the furries you’ve already been around for a while who discovered in addition to other things they also happen to like a cartoon that has walking talking horses in it we also find that furries who are bronies tend to have been furries at a younger age than non brony furries are so in other words the bronies in the fandom tend to be coming from the fandom itself not from invading masses of bronies now to switch gears a little bit we’ll talk about therians who are another group that oftentimes kind of gets lumped in with mixed up with the definition of a furry so fairies remember are people who self-identify with an interest in anthropomorphic animals now therians are different therians are people who actually self-identify as or with non-human animals so nowhere in the definition of a furry is to say that a furry is a person who actually identifies with an animal this is what a therian does in fact you find that about 10 to 20 percent depending on the sample of furries actually considers themselves to be etherion now to understand the difference between furries and therians it’s useful to look at a few illustrative questions now we ask these questions to a group of just average Americans to the furries and so a group of therians who were also furries so he asked them first of all if you were given the chance to flip a switch and just become non-human altogether would you do it what we found was that the non furries only about 10% of them said yes a lot of people have been as kind of strange and that’s that’s a weird question why would you ask that well 39 percent of furries they got it they said yeah you know if I the chance to sure I become a nonhuman animal if I could but look at the therians almost 60% of them agree with this thing that if they could they would give up being human and become entirely non-human but it gets even more apparent that there’s a difference between furries and therians on the next question do you feel less than a hundred percent human so right now as you stand there does something about you feel not entirely human now again when you ask that question it’s just the average American very few people agree with the sense it’s about 1 in 3 furries agrees with the sentiment and says sure I don’t feel entirely human now that mention it but 86% of therians agree with the sentiment and say yeah I don’t feel entirely human this is a huge difference and represents right so important to us to be crystal clear in our working definition of where they were talking about furries or therians because this is one question where the difference really does matter now when we talk about there it’s not feeling entirely human it’s important to note that this isn’t necessarily delusion this isn’t a fairy and looking down and seeing pause instead of hands this isn’t a fairy in saying that if you were to give them a blood test to look at their genes they know they have human genes nevertheless it’s this feeling that they have the mindset the minds or the spirit of the soul of a nonhuman being trapped in the physical body of a human moreover people have asked us well is there something to test whether this is just something theory and say soda therians really deep down feel who human and they’re just doing this to kind of get a rise out of people or asserts their their independence or their uniqueness well we’ve actually kind of tested that already so using a procedure that’s kind of advanced for for this particular talk but we essentially do is look at the pattern of mistakes and reaction times that therians and furries have when they answer questions related to other to make snap decisions about whether or not a certain word counts as a human word a non human word whether it pertains to themself or not we find with them in theory ins this doesn’t just seem to be something that they say when you actually look at the pattern of mistakes they make in the pattern of reaction times they they they show the concept of self an animal is much more closely and inextricably linked in variants than it is in nonferrous so for therians when you activate the concept of self the concept of animal is also much more likely to be automatically act when these two concepts are very very tightly it in theory ends in a way that it’s not in furries other aspects of the phenomenology of being etherion includes the phenomenon of phantom limb so a phantom limb in psychology refers to having a physical sensation or an itch or a pain in a limb that’s not there whether it’s because when avocation are simply being born without that limb people report having sensation from a limb that isn’t there some times and many theory and supportiveness is the case in particularly with regard to a tale that isn’t present what we find is that compared to furries theories are significantly more likely to have had this experience almost 85% of theory and say at one point or another they’ve sat down on what fella gets halo lore they felt pain or sensation in the tail that wasn’t there and we find that about half of therians find this to be a relatively disturbing experience to them it’s kind of jarring to have a sensation from a Lynne that isn’t actually bear now people have asked us you know when you’re studying furries when you’re studying therians can you you know gain any understanding about how people in general work in other words why should the average person why should a psychologist care if you’ve discovered something strange or quirky about furries or variants and this research right here is a perfect example of why we ought to care about the difference between furries and therians and why these are differences that make a difference so it’s a well-known psychological finding that when you add to chrome’ or five something you make people care about it more so for example researchers have long known that if you anthropomorphize the concept of earth that were mother earth they put a face on a picture of the earth and you put that on a recycling bin people are much more likely to recycle because you’ve brought something non-human into the domain of human morality so suddenly you respond to it the way you would respond morally to another human being now in studying therians we’ve learned a thing or two about what happens when your concept of self is tied to the concept of non animals this involved the yourself release the complicated statistical models that again I’m not going to get into right now because it’s it’s far too advanced for this particular talk but essentially the gist of it is that to the extent that therians self dehumanize that is they tie their sense of self to animals rather than after providing animals they actually care more and act to help animals more so there’s greater concern for animal welfare they’re more willing to sign up for animal activism male groups so suggest that the way their brain is working in and tying to contact their self to animal together makes them care about animals in the same way that after Kimora fising animals you know giving animals human looking faces or showing a chimpanzee with a very human looking expression makes other people care about animals more as well and what’s really cool is that we found this not just in theory ins but in college students as well so the more college students and and their sense of self respond on that cognitive tasks like etherion does the more they to show greater concern for animal welfare and a greater willingness to help out and play an active role in helping your animals so the point of this whole introduction here is argue that the definition that we use for furry matters we’re not just being pedantic or quibbling over philosophical think shion’s here these are differences that really do make a difference whether we’re talking about a furry or a therian or a brony really matters and that’s why we spend so much time making crystal clear that we’re talking about or what we mean when were talking about furries in this particular context so moving on from our definition of what a furry is let’s talk about something that most furry through and that’s create a persona so even though we said earlier that is no:1 behavior that all furries engaging persona creation is probably the most universal behavior in the furry fandom we find that at least 95% of furries say that they currently or at least in the past have had one or more personas most of the time we find that furries only have one person at a time although that’s it there are a number of furries who do simultaneously hold multiple personas which could be depending on the mood that day or depending on what mindset you’re reading it may switch but you find very few furries who jump between five or six or ten different personas in rapid succession in fact when you talk to furries a lot of them say that they created one for sona it lasted them for quite some time and it’s only after years of change or something really really jarring real world sort of incident that they come to change there for someone so it’s not a lot of fur is changing the personas but they change that are underwear now when you ask or when the average sort of person who doesn’t know anything about furries or the media asked about furries this is typically one misconception they have is this idea that furries wake up in the morning you decide oh I’m going to be a dog today and a cat tomorrow or not lying next week and that’s not really the case for furries it seems that their personas are deep and personal and it’s something that they carry around with them for quite some time and very few of them it would seem less than half seemed to change them with any kind of frequency and we see this reflected in other data as well soon we asked furries hey where did your persona come from was it something you just sort of washed on TV and decided to kind of oh I like mine so I’ll take that as part of my persona or was it something sort of from inside you and we find that most furries agree on the left side of the figure here – soma came almost entirely from within me so it’s something deeply held feeling or believe her idea but they had that contributed to therefore sonís pieces and if you talk to furries about the reasons they chose the species they did most of the time it has some deeply meaningful their significant story associated with it maybe they grew up with a beloved pet that they just thought they understood maybe it was a trip to the zoo and they were really young that had a very powerful impact on them we also find that when furries pray for saunas they tend to be deeply reflective of who they are so we asked for is hey you know is here for sona exactly like you or is it totally different from you most furries agree the vast majority of furries agree that therefore Sona represents something deep and meaningful about them and it’s virtually identical to who they are not completely identical it’s very very close to who they are so very few flurries create personas that are completely different from who they are again reinforcing this idea that furries create for sona’s sort of from within them now we asked five years ago a huge sample of nearly 5,000 furries what therefore Sona was in order to gauge what the most popular species was this was a question that came up quite frequently again from the media and from furries themselves we just wanted to know what are the most popular species and we found five years ago that the most popular species was a wolf we asked again five years later but I had to come last year what the most popular species were Basque people rather to identify therefore so need to see what the most popular species was and sure enough we found that wolves phil happens so pretty consistently at least across the past five years wolves seem to be the most prevalent for certain species you can see here in this figure that wolves tends to dominate quite a bit between 1/4 and one-third of all furries identify in whole or in part with a wolf but we also see other quite popular species as well include foxes dragons cats dogs Tigers and various mythological creatures now one question were often asked by the media is whether or not it matters whether a furry chooses a cat or a dog or a bear or rabbits as therefore some species are these differences that matter now when we ask furries you know does your persona species matter does it tell people about you furries do you believe that it does furries genuinely are of the opinion that if I know that you’re a cat or I know that your persona is a dog I know a little bit more about the kind of person you are that said however most furries agree that they wouldn’t judge other furries on the basis of their persona species so if when maybe people ask us about African that you’ve never been to before this misconception that all the cats go into one room and all the dogs go into one room and all the Bears go into one room and let’s really not have a furry fandom into rats furries agreed that I first wanted to know something about who you are but very few say that they would judge a person or choose not to interact with a person solely on the basis of what their persona species is that said we did some research recently on the subject of stereotypes and how stereotypes pertain to particular species so we asked furries to stay there for so no species so what is your species and then tell us three stereotypes that exist about your species what we found let certain traits kept coming up as being the most popular traits among Fasano species so loyalty sly strong bunch I adorable intelligence these are the kinds of traits that kept coming up over and over again seemingly across different personas but has had to break it down by species to see whether or not certain species were more frequently associated with particular stereotypes and for those who think that sex is deeply associated with the phantom we found that the trait sexy in answering anything to do with sex for that matter was way down in 33rd place in terms of how frequently it came up as a stereotype so a lot of factors sort of way into a this stereotype of klieg of species sex isn’t usually one of them so we asked people about wolves we found that loyalty was the defining trait or the most prevalent stereotype that existed about wolves among foxes it was being supplied among dragons it was being strong among cats it was kind of a mixed bag and I’m ashamed as a calf astana myself that laziness was the defining trait of cats dogs were pretty unilaterally defined by loyalty almost more so than wolves and with rabbits we found that it tends to be defined tended to be defined by shyness more than anything else of course very few people be surprised to find that otters were defined almost exclusively by enjoyment of fun now what’s interesting yeah there is a stereotype a prevalent stereotype or at least a belief that a particular stereotype exists about foxes and that is namely the association of boxes with perversion or with sex and we found some evidence that that was true but there was in fact one species even more frequently associated with sex and that was rabbits and that’s not entirely surprising given that our society is one that often associates rabbits with virility or fertility now we talked about the Playboy bunnies for example so this isn’t necessarily shocking now one other thing that’s worth noticing if you look back at this table full of stereotypes is that most of these traits tend to be remarkably positive traits in fact you find that I think of the top 10 9 out of 10 of these traits are marked without any positive traits now this finding tends to overlap quite a bit with another finding we found that suggests that for sona’s our idealized versions ourselves that when fur is great for sona’s they’re similar to who you are but slightly better version of who you are now this figure here sort of asks people to indicate to what extent is your persona more of this than you or less of this than you so for each trade a lowered bar means that you are more like this than your persona and a higher bar means your force ona is more of this than you are so we find is that furries say that they are more shy and introverted and unstable and intolerant and cold-hearted than therefore Sona is but that personas are more playful and energetic and confident and attractive and likeable better versions of who they are so for sona’s like you but a slightly better you when we see this perhaps most vividly demonstrated in research on furries who have physical psychological disabilities so we asked these furries about the four sona’s many of them suggested that despite having if it’s with disability themselves they created for sona’s that did not have the same disabilities and part of the reason for this was because the Fasano allowed furries to interact with other people without the disability being the center of attention being the most salient feature in that interaction so when interacting with other furries online people would notice first of all the species they picked or their appearance this apparent that lacked the disability rather than looking and interacting with the person solely on the basis of a particular disability so this again suggests that many furries create personas that are idealized or slightly better versions of who they are in person now again to go back to the real-world implications why should psychologists throughout the scientists care that furries create these personas well with technology becoming more and more widespread people have the opportunity to create idealized versions of themselves and sort of a digital realm so your Facebook profile is a perfect example of people tailoring a virtual self that’s like them but slightly better typically you only put the better parts of yourself on Facebook for for display to the public dating profiles are the same thing you tend to put your best foot forward which is in part what a lot of furries are doing with their first hummus so by understanding if this is good for furries we can also understand whether this is good for world of warcraft players second length players anyone who uses Facebook we can better understand what are the implications of having these fantasy or virtual or not new versions of you that was slightly better than you for your well-being moving on from personas we’ll talk a little bit about other things that furries tend to do now there’s a misconception about what furries do that you often see in the media and that’s typically that furries are people who wear fur suits versus were the most visible aspect of the fandom and often the most laughs that parts of the Phantom so it’s worth starting here and seeing whether there’s some truth to the idea that furries are people who wear and in fact the data suggests that that’s not the case despite the fact that most people think of pursuits when thinking about furries only about 13% suffers actually owns a whole fur suit and in fact we find that when you broaden the definition to include a partial fur suits the number is still less than 20% of furries so most furries in fact do not own fur suits despite the fact that furries are oftentimes defined by firsts and even if you broader the category even more and don’t talk about fur suits but say well maybe furries are people who own furry stuff and they wear furry stuff like tails or ears even then we find that the most popular item tails is still owned by less than half of furries so it’s inaccurate to describe or define furries as people who dress up because that’s something that some furries choose to do as a way of manifesting their interests but it’s certainly not Universal among very furries or even the most popular way of manifesting this particular interests despite that however we see plenty of news outlets who are happy to report that furries are people who wear suits who have sex in suits who congregate and wear these silly mascot suits it almost seems like the media is more obsessed with vers suits than furries are so in trying to understand what furries do it’s important to get first roots out of your mind because there’s plenty of other things that furries too when interacting with other furries are going online outside of the pursuit as you can see on the screen here these are just some examples among the myriad hundreds thousands of examples of things that furries do besides just putting on suits and hanging out with one another we find for example that most furries interact with other furries this is something that furries like to do and then you have them do so in person we find that about half of furries try to make it out to at least one convention a year and that call may vary depending on geographic location but regardless we find that about half the fandom is defined by at least in parts by interacting with other furries at conventions or at local Fermi’s whether it’s going out to a restaurant or attending a very theme party or going out to a park and hanging out with other furries this is one thing that furries do this is components is even bigger online we find that first love to hang out with other furries online whether it’s in furry themed florins talking to other furries an instant messaging programs in both these instances out 80% of furries do this on a daily or weekly basis we also find that 15 to 20 percent of furries say they use IMVU or Second Life or some other place virtual world where they can interact with other furries on a daily or weekly basis so it seems that furries I really do like to hang out with other furries and that’s something that’s commonly left out in the media narrative where people may get this idea that furries are people who sit around the house wearing a fuzzy costume so – by themselves that’s not surprising then if that’s the idea they have that furries may have some kind of an adjustment or be just a little weird furries are also a remarkably creative and productive culture so it’s what we call a participatory culture where you don’t just sit back and passively consume but many furries themselves create a fact illustrate about the fact that one of the first things many furries do when joining the fandom is creative force ona themselves and content creation isn’t just unique to the creation over force ona we find that about 60% of furries produce some form of visual art now we’ll not every furry is a dark Natasha or very famous well-known artist a lot of furries seem to at least dabble in the visual arts and that the same thing is true when it comes to the written arts find that about 50% of furries tend to do some creative writing in their spare time again not every furries at Kyle gold we find that many furries love to self express this interest in anthropomorphism through the creation of writing as sort of a tangent we recently did some research looking at artists in the furry fandom so looking specifically at those people who create content and this research in particular was focused on artists who were better known artists who were at a convention selling their maturity or taking Commission’s or selling prints but they were artists who were making it with a little bit of money by selling their product to the fandom now among this group we found that they were much more likely to be within that meant as we’ll see in a few slides here this is sort of the reverse of what we find in the general furry population which tends to be dominated by men we also find that among artists and the phantom especially artists who are selling content to the Phantom about two-thirds of them self identify themselves as furries what we find are many artists were artists first they were artists in other domains they made other content and only later on did they stumble upon the furry fandom or furry artwork as an outlet with a particularly eager audience even among furries are furry artists who sell their contents at conventions very few of these artists said that they actually made their sole income through the artwork that they sold for the fandom so many of the artists that you commissioned work part or full-time jobs out in the real world we also find that furry artists like to hang out with other furry artists as well so about 50% of the friends in the fandom that furry artists have are themselves also for the artists and despite the belief that the furry fandom is inundated with pornography we find that only about 17% of artists in the fountains say that the work they produce is mostly erotic so most very artists say that somewhere all of their art work is actually quite clean in nature now this table here looks a little intimidating but it’s well worth the price of admission so stick with me here what we did was ask various furries and we asked furry artists a series of questions that have to do with fan entitlement so fan entitlements in this case is this belief that you as a fan deserve certain treatments from the content creators so if you look at some of the items here on the left these are things like I expect an artist to meet me in person if I’m a really big fan perhaps at a convention or if we live nearby I expect artists to go above and beyond my expectations and constantly wow me if I email the artist I expect an email back I should get special treatment for being devoted artists are required to listen to their fans and their suggestions fans should are obligated to let artists know that their work is subpar and artists should be listening to it and you know fans in general she gets better treatment now in the first column the artists believe we asked artists themselves how much they personally endorsed each of these items so how entitled are they whenever they themselves are commissioning artwork from other artists you see the values they’re next and the next column to the right we asked artists in Phantom how much they think the average furry endorses these items so higher numbers mean more more entitled and we found that across each of the items artists believe that the aviary was more entitled than they were now the third call them is the responses that about a thousand not artists furries gave to each of these questions and what you find is that in the second column artists expected at the average furry would score pretty high on this scale but in the third column we saw that the average was much lower for the average furry and in fact that the last column this is what percentage of furries were as bad as artists expected we said that number for most of the item tends to hover between five and fifty percent so very few furry seventeen are as bad as artists anticipate when it comes to entitlements now there’s a few possible ways that one can interpret this data and it’s important to note that this data tell of these data tell a story and it’s not necessarily clear one possibility is that the artists are completely wrong so artists have this belief that fans are particularly entitled and in actuality fans aren’t nearly as entitled as artists think now this idea that it’s a few bad apples that are spoiling the bunch has some basis in the psychological literature so there’s work on something called the availability heuristic which suggests that have one particularly vivid example contained your perception of a group it’s the reason why so many people are afraid to fly in planes and afraid of plane crashes despite the fact that statistically a person is safer in a plane than that car is because plane crashes are much more vivid so for artists it may be the case had a handful of really bad Commissioners the commissioners from hell are the ones that are tainting their perception of just how bad commissioners are because when you ask artists how bad our commissioners the ones that come to the mine come to mind most readily are the really bad commissioners so this kind of makes sense that artists maybe they’re completely overestimating how bad the average fan is on the other hand there’s also psychological research showing that people are biased to see themselves in a positive manner we have biases and cognitive tricks that we use to think about ourselves in a positive way no one likes to think that there’s a commissioner from hell we like to believe that we are all pretty good decent people and as such when asked many of us tend to respond in desirable ways on survey such as these chances are what’s happening here is a little bit of both it’s probably the case that artist’s estimation of how bad the average Furi is is tainted a little bit by particularly bad examples by particularly bad commissioners that said the average furry and their estimation of how good a commissioner they are is probably at least somewhat colored by their desire to see themselves in a favorable way now again tying this back to why the average psychologist should care about fan creator relationships in the furry fandom this can actually be quite informative when it comes to other fandoms other domains so for example trying to understand why fans of Star Wars Felton’s Heigl tell George Lucas what the prequels the prequel movies should have been and should have contained despite the fact that the films themselves were his creation this was his story but fans felt entitled to tell him what they should have been so by understanding the relationship between content creators and fans and the furry fandom you might be able to look to other fandoms as well and better understand relationships within those phantoms now jumping back to its up into what furries do we’ve done a few studies and found that there are a number of things that are pretty universally light buy furries we find for example that furries really like science fiction stories they’re like video games cartoons web comics artwork most of you listening to this probably like some more most of these things we also find that there are some things are not universally liked but pretty frequently lights among furries so things like anime tabletop gaming role-playing mugs these are things that a lot of furries enjoy even if it’s not quite as unanimous as some of the things in the first category and in looking at this categories we really only found one activity that fur is pretty unanimously disliked that was sports we’re not entirely sure why but for whatever reason furries aren’t really a fan of sports maybe this has something to do with furries being bullied in high school and if furries comprise that sort of a geek culture then sort of an to the system the eat gives me junk and maybe first were beaten up by those who liked sports maybe it’s the case that furries is a fandom or particularly stigmatized whereas the sports fandoms the NFL the NBA tend to be pretty widely accepted and endorsed by the general population so maybe there’s some frustration there either way research suggests at first don’t seem to be very fond of sports we look at other things that furry suit on this figure here with higher bars indicating that furries really support this as being a central part of the furry fandom so you see that are it’s in a sense of community conventions local meetups and acceptance are all pretty defining central features of what the furry fandom is hip you notice that trauma is particularly low on this so despite this idea that drama is prevalent in the fandom that drama is a defining feature of the furry fandom the data don’t seem to suggest that’s the case finally though I want to talk about this last bar here sex in the fandom because the issue of furries sex and pornography is a particularly charged one in the fandom and it’s one that many furries finds me quite a divisive issue it’s one of the ones that’s really hard for furries to talk about in part because there’s so much risk that you’re going to offend or upset other people so we’re going to delve into it today and talk a little bit about what the research suggests about the issue of sex and pornography and the furry fandom what’s the truth first off I want to start off by looking at sexual orientation in the furry fandom now what you see on the screen here is a representation of a typical Kinsey scale so it’s a 0 to 6 scale on the left side it’s exclusive heterosexuality and on the right side of the scale its exclusive homosexuality and what you see here is that in the sample of the general American population the vast majority of people more than 90 percent consider themselves to be either exclusively heterosexual or predominantly heterosexuals we’re talking about heterosexual except for that one time in college so the vast majority of Americans consider themselves to be heterosexual now when you include the data on furries you see a very different picture very are not nearly as many furries consider themselves to be exclusively or predominantly heterosexual in fact only about 35 percent of furries fall into this category compared to almost 90 percent of the average American on the flip side of this available into the very right end we see that furries are about 6 to 7 times more likely in the general population to consider themselves to be exclusively or predominantly homosexual we also have some data on asexuality finding that both between 3 and 4 percent of the fandom consider themselves to be asexual and another 15% of the fandom say they don’t fall anywhere on this dichotomy heterosexual it’s a homosexual so shifting gears a bit we’ve moved for sexual orientation to relationships looking at whether or not there’s some truth to this idea the stereotype that furries are predominantly single males living in their parents basements and the data suggests that at least among males in the Fantom they are predominantly single so we find that almost 60% of for emails call themselves single are not currently in a relationship on the flip side women are far more likely to be in a relationship in the furry fandom this is either dating or engaged or currently married the issue of pornography in the fandom is a very divisive one so we’re going to tread carefully into the data here but we show perhaps unsurprisingly to anyone listening to this is that pornography exists in the furry fandom this is perhaps one of the few statements that’s going to be contentious we also find that most male furries view pornography in fact 96% of males in the fandom do say that they look at pornography and about 17% of them say that the only pornography they look at is furry themed we also find that most females in the Fantom also look at pornography although far fewer of them only 2.2 percent say that they only look at exclusively furry themed pornography so both men and women in the fandom do seem to look at pornography and general but what’s interesting is that men in the fandom seem to be far more positive about it than women so in asked how comfortable they felt about pornography and the fans of most males felt pretty calm pretty comfortable if not very comfortable and very positively towards the issue of sex and porn in the fandom in contrast we found that among women in the Fantom it was much more contentious at issue but they were far less likely to say they felt positively about porn in the fandom and the most popular answer was to feel very ambivalent Julie neither very positive nor very negative about us somewhere in the middle now this isn’t when you consider that the fandom is approved the mail space much of the artwork in the furry famine especially the pornography is geared towards the male gaze it’s geared towards a male audience and so you have artwork that’s intended to show off the features or the kinds of themes that are very popular to men and are unless so this would have emphasized the themes that are popular it’s women if you’re an artist in the fan of need trying to get a fanbase you gotta cater your work towards the largest number of people so this is one possible explanation for why men and defendant may feel so much more positively about the contents of pornography that and women to that said so despite the fact that we find that most furries look at porn and that a lot of furries feel quite positively about porn especially the male furries we find that there is a super strong preference for pornographer no graphic themes artwork so we asked for is about the furry art they do look at we see at this some preference looking at the bars they kind of skew towards the right but the most popular answer is to say well there’s no real strong preference in general furries just like furry themed art they also like furry themed art that’s pornographic because many furries like sex but it isn’t the case that furries are madly and overwhelmingly picking just the pornographic art so fur is just like furry art and in fact we go one step further and ask for as to what extent is pornography furry porn the the biggest driver if you’re getting in it staying into the fandom we find that very few people this is the case so in the right here we have people who say that I’m only here for furry porn we find that very very few people actually endorse this item almost exclusively men do on the website of the figure we find that far more people especially women in the fandom say that no porn isms at all the reason why I’m here there are other reasons bigger reasons driving my involvement in the furry fandom so this is one of the arguments put forth to counter the claim that the furry fandom is a fetish people who say that furry is is first and foremost a fetish if that were the case you wouldn’t see this pattern of results if we really a finish you would see most people saying that they’re here first and foremost or at least predominantly for the porn for the sexual content and that’s not really the case here now we did a study quite recently in the last year looking at pornography which actually involved having furries at a convention look at varying degrees of explicit very artwork ranging from clothes completely clean furry artwork people show you the grandmother – very very explicit artwork and we had them look at both furry and non furry pornography it was counterbalance to ensure that there was an equal amount of straight lesbian and gay our work at the mix and then we extended this study by having a comparison group we actually did the exact same study and a sample of college students who looked at both non furry and furry themed pornography for science these brave souls and what we found pretty interesting Lee was that there’s an expectation among furries that non furries will burst into flame and be absolutely aghast when they see furry pornography but the day that didn’t seem to bear that out when it came to the furry artwork the explicit furry Arbor Tanja’s the erotic furry artwork when asked how explicit this was how graphic and extremely explicit this content was furries actually rated it more hardcore and more extreme than non furries did so now for he didn’t seem to be as bothered by the content it didn’t seem to react so viscerally to it in the same way that furry state and we think in part this has to do with furries having sort of a knee-jerk reaction to the topic of poorness anticipation of disapproval may cause furries to sort of defensively treats even relatively innocuous work as being quite pornographic if only to make sure that doesn’t fall into not very hands and lead to judgment so I want to summarize this section on pornography and sex by saying that section the furry fandom is remarkably complex just like sex in general for humans is remarkably complex it’s one of the most contentious and divisive issues from the Phantom and it’s probably the case that any time someone makes a blanket statement about what furry what all furries think about sex oh but all furries think about porn what all furries do it’s probably wrong given how much variation there is giving how much variety there is in human sexuality in general it’s not surprising to find that few furries agree when it comes to the topic of sex and pornography and the fandom perhaps one of the things that they didn’t do suggest however is that despite the fears that many furries have but how non furries will respond if they ever saw or for a pornography the data seemed to suggest that it may be a little bit overblown it may not be as bad as furries expect moving on we’ll next talk about demographics in the composition of the furry fandom so we find the furry fandom is a predominantly young fandom now keep in mind when looking at this data that our research team is not allowed for ethical reasons to look at minors so our data starts by collecting people at the age of 18 but you can imagine that this curve includes a second half that includes a number of teenagers you know older and younger teenagers as well we find that the fandom is a predominantly young fandom even without including these younger people we still find that the vast majority of the furry fandom is under the age of 30 more than 80% of furries are under the age of 30 so we see this huge fall off after that point we also see that there’s a group of furries who call themselves great muscles and there’s no sort of official cutoff for where this point is but we found that among furries who call themselves great muscles the average age tends to be about 40 to 43 years old although we have found furries as young as 18 or 19 years old calling themselves gray muscles the gist of this suggests that if a furry is into their 30s or 40s they’re getting up there in terms of being one of the older members of the fans of men now that said we’ve also asked for ease in addition to how old they are how will they feel and we find that the older you get in the furry fandom subjectively the younger you feel as a percentage of your current age so the way I kind of jokingly put this is to say that furries tend to be about 25 at least men so they all kind of feel 25 years old so furries who are above the age of 25 so that’s about how they feel but the older you get the farther you get from 25 the younger you feel as a percentage of your age so seems like most people even older furries tend to feel relatively young and it may be the case that the Phantom allows them to maintain this sort of younger felt subjective age now we talked a little bit earlier about sex and gender in the furry fandom now we’ve assessed these separately recognizing that there’s difference between the biological body that a person is born in and the social construct of gender so we asked me separately and what we found is that the furry fandom in general is a predominantly male driven fandom whether you’re looking at sort of biological differences or gender identity we find the Phantom’s predominantly male this is really the reverse of what we found in artists which were far more likely to be female even more interesting me we founded the furry fandom about 10% of furries say but they don’t feel like they fit on to their non gender non-binary or genderqueer so they don’t fall into the traditional male-female dichotomy even more we find that this is almost twice as likely and furry artists as it is in the general furry population we also find that about 2.1 percent of furries identify themselves as trans which is about seven times more prevalent than its prevalence in the general American population suggesting that the furry fandom may be a place for people who are transgender to express themselves in a way that they feel safe or in place where they’ll be accepted for who they are in terms of the ethnic composition of the fandom if I the fandom is a predominantly white space in the sense that about 80% of furries identify as white in terms of some of the socio-economic variables pertaining to the furry fandom we find that about 70% of furries are either currently enrolled in some kind of set post-secondary education or have already completed some kind of post-secondary education we also find that among the careers that furries tend to go into we find that there are a lot of the same careers he would find in very tech savvy geek sort of samples geek or nerd samples so we find that furries oftentimes wind up in the hard sciences doing jobs that have to do with computers or IT or with graphic or visual design it was once asked whether furries were defined in parts by having broken families are coming from families of divorce we find that about one-third of furries say that they had parents who had divorced a number which does not differ significantly from that of the general population what did differ interestingly was the number of furries who said they were the oldest child so among furries who were in families with multiple children we found the first were far more likely to be the older child than they were to be the younger child a phenomenon that weird still to this day unable to fully account for or explain god help us we also find that furries are reproducing and about 4% of furries say they currently have children so the stereotype of furries is that they are single white males living in their parents basements and at first blush this seems to suggest that this data here seem to suggest that many Furze that with their parents it’s worth noting however the furry phantoms that predominantly young fandom as well when you separate the data to account for age we find that the vast majority of Furze who are under the age of 24 make up the furries who are living with their parents and this isn’t surprising this is actually you find the general population as well with the bad economy and sort of with growing trends of staying in school for longer we find that people are living with their parents at older and older ages and the first item is just reflecting what sort of a general trend in the population by the time first hit 24 25 years old many of them have moved out to either live with roommates who live by themselves or to live with relationship partners in terms of the religious composition of the furry fandom we’ve asked this question in several samples and we find pretty consistent results about 25% of the fandom identifies as Christian about between one-third and one-half of the fandom considered themselves to be atheist and or agnostic and the rest of furries tend to fall somewhere into an other category that includes pagan or Wiccan beliefs Jewish believes Buddhism others AAS beliefs etc it’s also worth comparing furries to other fandoms which is what we’re going to do in this section here but yeah how furry stack up against other fan groups but also looking at what the effects are of spending time in the furry fandom and how it may change furries over time so to compare furries you want to look at how furries that up against the group that was very similar to furries anime fans but also a group that was very distinctly different in terms of content from furries in this case fantasy sport fans and what we found so different colored bars on these figures mean statistically significant differences what we found that there’s actually a scale called the social awkwardness scale and furries didn’t differ significantly from convention going anime fans that’s the Akon sample there and fantasy sport fans although it was the case that online anime fans were more socially awkward at least as measured by the scale than furries were we also found that in terms of the content of these phantoms the furry fandom was far less violent than either the sport fandoms or the difference anime fans we found however that in terms of pornography there was much more pornographic content in the furry fandom than in these other fandoms as well and we found the furries were much more motivated by sex its participated in the fandom then we’re anime fans or palace eSport fans now before you believe that furry fans are exclusively motivated by sex you should see that there are other motivations here namely entertainments where furries are scoring much much higher sees how the meeting was less than for for the sex motivation but for the entertainment motivation for a sport much much higher than suggesting that well sex was one of the motivators for furry since participate in the furry fandom it wasn’t the defining motivator and in fact we see this as well when it comes to identifying with the fan community many furries say that the fan of horizon of a sense of belonging this a sense of community that’s really motivating they’re staying around in the fandom and we see that born out in this data where furries are much more much more feel sense of belongingness to the community than you see in other fandoms and in fact further illustrating this we find that 30 percent of straight furries and almost 80 percent of gay furry say they found their current relationship partner in the fandom so this isn’t a matter of this is the group that I hang out with once a week to read comic books with or hang out with but for many furries the connections they make in the furry fandom tends to be very deep importance very meaningful ones so it’s worth asking at this point what are the effects of the furry fandom on furries themselves those spending time in the furry fandom changed the kind of person you are humorously illustrated in this particular comic we found a few things that suggest that the furry fandom may change the way furries think so for example in this particular study we had furries and non furry college students look at faces furry faces non furry faces and first huge faces slippery faces we mean artwork featuring anthropomorphic characters and what we found was that furries didn’t differ from the non furry college students when it came to recognizing human faces they did about as well however when it came to recognizing furry faces in first suit faces furries were much better at recognizing these spaces so we say recognition what we mean is that would show more than a hundred pictures to furries of just you know various people and fur suits and artwork and then we would ask them later on we’d show them a series of a hundred pictures fifty of which they had seen before in fifty of which were brand new and we would ask our participants did you see the space earlier in the study furries were very very good even better than they were recognizing human faces and recognizing anthropomorphic animal characters and fursuit faces we suspect that part of this reason is due to the fact that it proved that furry faces provide furries with additional cues that may not be present in human faces accused like colored cubes like species cues like the artist or the first suit maker which may allow them to better recognize these faces then college students would moreover given that so much of furries identity is put into four sona’s furries may develop apart of a particularly good a particularly keen sense of recognition being able to tell your best friends Wolf asana from some other wolf or soma one other effect the furry fandom may have on furries it’s increased hope to called global citizenship global citizenship is this a psychological construct that suggests that you care about the world outside of you you care about other people you care about helping other people you care about the input that other people provide for you you care about the environments and you feel a sense of responsibility to help those around even if they may not be in your particular group and we find in a study that was actually published in a psychological journal that furries are particular they give the Morpher you were the more you cared about global citizenship and actually personally identified as a global citizen yourself I think there’s a few reasons for this one reason that the furry fandom is a geographically diverse fandom meaning that if you’re a furry some of your friends may live across the country some of them may live in other countries all together but you interact with with some frequency especially online because of that when furries think members of their in-group people that matter to them they’re thinking across stage her national boundaries and so they pretty regularly think about entire countries or the entire planet as part of a community that matters to them what’s more is the furry fandom publicly adopts many of these very liberal very progressive norms so first make no secret about being very progressive when it comes to issues like gay marriage being very progressive when it comes to issues like inclusion of members of other ethnic groups and so because of that many furries internalize those norms and themselves therefore care but when you see other people who are important to you caring about these sorts of issues you yourself begin to take them on as well we’ve asked furries sort of plot their trajectory in the fandoms we asked very 10 years ago how furry were you and five years ago Huck furry were you and have furry are you today at ten years from now how furry will you be and one thing that doesn’t seem to matter too much is how long you’ve actually been in the fandom so whether you’re Bennifer II 6 months or for six years we tend to find the same pattern of results ten years ago you weren’t as furry as you are now but 10 years from now you’re still going to be quite furry now this is quite interesting because it seems to contradict what the age data suggests the age data suggests it was quite a big fallout of furries by the time you get to the age of about thirty with the age of 30 many furries have already left the fandom so it seems that furries may kind of get blindsided by leaving the fandom although we’re not entirely sure what conscious for is to leave the fandom it seems to be that most furries don’t expect to leave the Phantom despite the fact that the data suggests that a lot of them eventually do one of the ways we’re trying to catch furries making the fandom is by asking this question right here a year from now how far do you expect to be compared to how far you are now and you can see the vast majority of furries say that they’re going to be asked for if not more furry than they are now but a small handful of furries seem to suggest this very negative trajectory that in a year from now they’re going to be pretty much out of Athens and we think these are furries who are kind of on their way out now you know what we like to do in future studies is catch these people before they leave and figure out what’s causing them to leave that help better understand why so many furries seem to leave the fandom by the time they hit the age of 30 now another thing we’ve looked at is how much furries self-disclose over time and whether or not that changes so I self-disclose we mean do furry tell other people around them that they’re furries and what we find is that spending more time in the fandom makes fairies more openly furry so on a 1 to 5 scale here we found an increase of almost half a point just based on spending one more year in the fandom so in this case we’re talking about a longitudinal study where we measure the same furries again and again and again over a few years to see how the responses change it seems to suggest that the more time you spend in the fandom the more open you come become about being free telling your friends your family your co-workers that you are in fact a furry now this raises an important question why wasn’t every furry perfectly open about being a furry why did we find variance in that data and for anyone who spent time on the Internet this may not be a particularly surprising finding that not all furries wish to discuss being furry with other people it’s illustrated quite nicely in this particular figure here which ranks the different fandoms in terms of which groups are sort of more geeky which groups are on top and which ones are less respected looking for furries furries are way down here at the bottom of the hierarchy once that above erotic furries and I said above people who write erotic versions of Star Trek where all the characters are furries like Kirk is an ocelot or something so they kind of comically hinted this idea that a lot of furries of experience that furry seems to be kind of at the bottom of the geek ire either kind of the Internet’s punch big and we see this reflected and other data as well so we asked members of these different fandoms hey if other people knew about your fan identity you know do you think that they would disapprove we found that furries experience was significantly more than anime fans or fantasy sport fans we also found that first were less likely to say that they self disclose their fan tied entity to other people so compared to anime fans in fantasy sports fans first were far less likely to say they actually told other people in their lives that they were in fact a member of this group which brings us to our last section which has to do with the question our fur is crazy if people are looking down at furries and sort of stigmatizing them is there some reason some explanation for why they’re doing it so before asking whether or not furs are crazy it’s worth asking what do we mean but crazy because it can certainly be argued that furries have an uncommon interest very few people would say that they have an interest in walking talking animals so maybe this is a good criterion to use for defining craziness but it’s also worth noting that many people have really uncommon interests for example model train enthusiasts these are people who have an interest that’s shared by very few people and yet we don’t seem to think of them as crazy or stigmatize them or make them feel bad for the interest in the same way the society seems to do for furries also recall that there’s no one behavior that’s distinctly furry we can’t say that behaving this way makes you crazy because for any behavior within the furry fandom those examples of non furries doing it and not taking flak for it so for example wearing fuzzy suits maybe this is crazy but when it comes to mascots or sporting games very few people would say that person is crazy in the same way they would say that about a furry what about looking at web comics or watching cartoons well a lot of other fans do that as well members of the anime fan for example read manga quite frequently and don’t take the kind of flack for it that sooo for enjoying furry themed webcomics for example and what about this idea of having a fantasy identity so we find that furries have these personas that aren’t real and maybe that makes them crazy and yet we don’t have the same stigma directed towards members of say world of warcraft fields who maybe they’re a little nerdy or considered narrative a society but don’t take the kind of flack or these assumptions of being crazy the same way that furries do so maybe it’s worth asking our furries less functional if I don’t know if they’re crazy maybe they’re dysfunctional and don’t function well in society maybe that’s what makes them crazy maybe that’s what leads to this kind of stigma well there is evidence suggesting that furries have particularly vivid fantasy lives so for example compared to non furries furries are much more likely to have supernatural or magical beliefs they for recreational purposes entertain the idea of walking talking animals and spirituality and souls and magical thinking they’re much more likely to entertain these notions they’re also much more likely to have vivid mental imagery so when you ask a furry in a non furry to picture something in their minds the research seems to suggest that furries have much more vivid mental experiences than non furries do they also have much more hypersensitive senses and they tend to visually hallucinate more frequently than non furries work so all of this might suggest the furries were dysfunctional that they have this really wild imagination that could lead them to kind of delusion or getting into trouble but the research that we have suggested this isn’t the case so I’ve actually developed a scale that looks at and distinguishes the difference between healthy fantasy engagements and pathological fantasy engagement healthy fantasy engagements is the use of fantasy for things like coping with a bad day self expressing there as a creative outlet or just for fun or a way to hang out with other people and the bars on the left suggest that furries do this much more frequently than not furries so furries use of the fantasy life as a way of having fun or hanging out with other furries when it comes to the pathological side of fantasy – having delusions being unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality obsessing about things for the points of not going into your job or not being able to pay rent we find that furries aren’t any different from the general population when it comes to these aspects of fantasy Safari seems to gain the benefits that come out from having a very vivid fantasy life but they don’t seem to have the same detriment that you would expect to accompany a vivid fantasy life so if we’re going to talk about dysfunction it’s worth asking whether furries are more likely to have been diagnosed with a psychological or medical condition maybe that would indicate that the some kind of dysfunction in the furry fandom however we found in looking at whether or not first have been diagnosed with anything that furries were no more likely than the general population to have been diagnosed with a medical disorder to be on some kind of psychiatric medication or to have been diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety disorder or a mood disorder in fact the only condition we’ve been able to find or furries score higher than the general population is Asperger’s or high-functioning autism and we find is despite the fact that furry score above twice fries are twice as likely to have been diagnosed with Asperger’s in the general population even after controlling for gender differences flat leads are still remarkably low rates we’re still talking about less than 5% of the furry fandom so while this one particular psychological condition may be more prevalent in the furry fandom than the general population it doesn’t seem to be a defining trait of the fan Simon because you know more than 95% of the furry fandom don’t have this particular condition there is research suggesting that furries are more likely to have been bullied than non furries and significantly so in fact between the ages of 11 and 18 where many teenagers are struggling to answer big questions about themselves to figure out who they are and to better understand how the world works furries were significantly more likely 62% versus 40% to experience significant bullying and we’re talking about physical harassment verbal harassment and a significant amount of it this is even after controlling for the fact that furries are also more likely to be gay something that in of itself contributes to bullying so even among gay people furries are still more likely to be picked on even if you are a gay furry the being furry makes you more likely to have been bullied so it seems to suggest that fur is take a significant amount of flack even in their younger years and we know from research that being bullied has a slew of negative effects on people we find quite consistently that people who’ve been bullied significantly in their younger years are much more likely to have psychological conditions to be depressed to be anxious to have self-esteem problems we even know that it takes us to learn your bodies physically being continuously stressed as a result of this kind of stigma is kind of bullying take this toll on your immune system it takes its toll on your heart it’s tatting to a person to constantly be vigilant so the research suggests that furries ought to be seriously screwed up from having been bullied so much more than the general population in their youth but that’s not what we find when we look at well-being measures whether it’s self-esteem subjective well-being quality of relationships life satisfaction how much worse have sort of figured out these big questions about who they are across all of these furries don’t differ from the general population it seems to suggest that despite the fact that furries have been bullied and ridiculed significantly and you would expect them to be lower on all of these measures they’re not something is protecting them from having experienced these kinds of detriments that we would expect and we think that something is the fandom itself is having found a place for furries can feel a sense of belongingness and community refers can be accepted for who they are and we’ve published a number of papers on this subject showing the fact that furries can be who they are in the fandom and don’t have to worry about being picked on you don’t have to worry about hiding who they are tend to contribute to their well-being the fact that the fan that provides furries with the social support network these are people who were around for you when life gets you down when you’re having a bad day you talk to somebody when your living arrangements are getting really bad and meet some of the drive you get you out of there furries have a really reliable and resilient social support network there to help them out and the research actually suggests that having a social support never like this is one of the best predictors of well-being not just for furries but for people in general but people who have these social support networks tend to be really well-off subjectively and it seems to suggest that in the furry phantom this is exactly what’s happening mysteries who should be doing poorly are actually doing just fine because they found this community they’ve belonged to this this group of like-minded others who treat them and take them in for who they are you might even say the friendship is magic to throw my little pony themed pun in there and we can see this even more vividly when we show what happens when you take four is away from the fandom many describe going to a furry convention as being this high this this place where they can be themselves through three days and be surrounded by people you know sounded very physically by the community that means so much to them and what happens when you take that away from people when furries leave the convention is for a few days furries tend to crash this is the phenomenon known as post con depression that many furries sort of talk about in which we’ve demonstrated empirically using this data here that in the days following a convention very to feel more bothered their mind wanders they find it hard to focus on their work they get depressed everything feels harder to them as a result of being away from this group of people who are this source of social support for them so I want to finish off with this presentation right where we began with the same question that we started with besides you know what a furry is trying to answer what is a furry and I want to argue that furries aren’t crazy people they’re just people furries are people who share an interests and this interest is a defining part of who they are and the defining part of the group’s they choose to hang out with but in the end they’re people just like anyone else and this is something the media tends to miss when the media talks about what furries are this is the kind of thing they like to focus on a bunch of people who put on suits this crazy gang of fuzzy suit-wearing delinquents and that misses the point entirely because it focuses on the suit that focuses on the shallow skin deep feature and it completely misses what the furry fandom is really about in the end it’s about people people interacting with other people as part of a community it doesn’t really matter in the end what they’re hanging out and talking about it doesn’t matter what the content is what’s more important what psychologically more interesting is the connections in the community that are formed as a result of hanging out because of the shared injury and that’s what particularly interests myself and the other members of the International anthropomorphic research project is why psychologists ought to care and do care about what we’re learning from the furry fandom and that’s why we’re going to continue to study furries whether we’re doing so at Texas furry fiesta and Oklahoma at Anthrocon in Pittsburgh wherever we go we’re going to continue studying furs because this is so interesting to us it can help us understand not only more about the furry fandom but about what makes people tick and helps us to better understand the kinds of factors that can make people better in the long run so thank you very much for listening for this talk and if you have any further questions I invite you to go to our research website for research comm we can find all of the data that you see here and you can get in touch with the researchers themselves and ask us questions about the data that we presented here asks us questions what other data or suggest ideas for future research thank you very much

17 comments

  1. Holy jesus crist why doesn't this has like 10k views? I just don't get it. This is the most important, fundamental video about furries I have ever seen in my entire life, and I wouldn't say something like that about ANYTHING. This is one of the most important videos i ever came across, I need to make this reach more people, wait wait, just 20 feb!? This is recent OMG This is AMAZING now that's why it doesn''t have many views, please everyone SHARE this, this is AMAZING.

    Thanks SO fking much guys for this amazing piece of outstanding work you made.

    no words. Amazing.

  2. I cant even… i have watched this for 2 days in a row now, im SO thankful with you guys, you have no idea

  3. I have the need to translate this to another lenguage, may you allow me to subtitle it in spanish and share it with the latin-american part of the fandom? (of course i would give you guys any credit). This is of HUGE importance for every furry and not everyone where I live for example, speaks english. Even worse! the documentaries about furries in my lenguage are pure sensationalism wich is SAD. It would be VERY important for me if you allow me to translate and share this guys.

  4. I'm.. I'm a Therian?… I've identified as a Furry since I came across it in my early teens but well before that I felt non human. The Anthro community became a place I felt safe and comfortable and later heard of Therians and thought "yeah, I can really relate to that" but this video has really made me think about things. I'm kinda in shock right now. It literately brought tears to my eyes..

    I guess I'm still Furry. I guess I'm speechless…

    edit

    So I've had a look around and I'm not actually sure. I'm definitely a fur but maybe a bit more on spiritual side…

  5. Hands down the definitive guide to furries to date… This should be commented on every damn video that pitches furs incorrectly. Truly remarkable work.

  6. Hi, have you guys thinking of the following two points:
    – Furries are more open to sex content or they feel more comfortable when talking about sex issue.
    – Furry tends to think they are different from other people outside of fandom. (contrast to other fandom like anime group).

  7. This is a really valuable and meaningful research, looking forward to further analysis about our fandom!

    I wonder why furries don't like sports, if a fursona means "a idealization of themselves", doesn't that make them participate in working out to keep in shape? or perhaps learning some dancing/parkour skills to self-actualize themselves? and I've seen furries belong to the aquatic species do choose swimming as their favorite sport, also what's the statistics among non-furries about doing sports?

    eager to know :3!

  8. My hypothesis is that: as we have seen data during the demographic section, 80% and more of the furries are aged under 30,

    and that, the whole furry fandom, though not drama-free, is a community of high togetherness where people within the community can sense a much stronger belongingness than outside of it.

    I believe, what makes most furries stay within the community is exactly the acceptance they receive that they won't normally in their "real world life"(e.g. school/work environments, etc).

    As such, I can make a bold guess that furries around their 30's start to feel they become the minority(in terms of age, obviously) within this already-comparingly small community. As they can't find many members within the fandom around their age, they start feeling being left out and eventually leave the community all together and maybe seek a new community/small group of people that accept them and actively communicate with them(or provide such environments/chances to them).

    But again, this is just my hypothesis, would be cool to see if there are researches already ongoing to validate my points. :p

  9. What a lovely and meaningful research! I'm a Chinese furry. And since little Chinese has access to youtube, I'm wondering may I put this video on a Chinese site like bilibili.com ? I really want more people to see it. BTW, if I can, how can I download the Chinese subtitle?

  10. Thank you FWIW, this video is now available for mainland China in simplified Chinese!Come check it out. www.bilibili.com/video/av12519970/

  11. For what I feels, you must be doring science in a completely different group of furries(I'm from Chinese mainland), or I'm looking at the very wrong place. It seems your result cannot be applied universially or at least it doesn't seems right here. I'm not here to argue, but I do really want to discuss with you about the localization of furry fandom or rather localization of minor cultural groups. Do you have time and interest for that?

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