We compared face recognition of humans and fandom-themed characters (art and costumes) between a sample of furries (fans of anthropomorphic animal art) and non-furries. Participants viewed images that included humans, drawn anthropomorphic animals, and anthropomorphic animal costumes, and were later tested on their ability to recognize faces from a subset of the viewed images. While furries and non-furries did not differ in their recollection of human faces, furries showed significantly better memory for faces in furry-themed artwork and costumes. The results are discussed in relation to own-group bias in face recognition.
This is a rebuttal to Fiona Probyn-Rapsey’s criticisms of the original furry research conducted in 2006 and published in 2008. Her focus on gender identity disorder misses the main point of the study, which was that it was the first empirical study to collect data scientifically and report findings on the furry fandom, an often misrepresented subculture.
This study explored the furry identity. Furries are humans interested in anthropomorphic art and cartoons. Some furries have zoomorphic tendencies. Furries often identify with, and/or assume, characteristics of a special/totem species of nonhuman animal. This research surveyed both furries (n = 217) and non-furry individuals (n = 29) attending a furry convention and a comparison group of college students (n = 68). Furries commonly indicated dragons and various canine and feline species as their alternate-species identity; none reported a nonhuman-primate identity. Dichotomous responses (“yes” or “no”) to two key furry-identity questions (“do you consider yourself to be less than 100% human” and “if you could become 0% human, would you”) produced a two-by-two furry typology. These two independent dimensions are self-perception (undistorted versus distorted) and species identity (attained versus unattained). One-quarter of the furry sample answered “yes” to both questions, placing them in the “Distorted Unattained” quadrant. This type of furry has certain characteristics paralleling gender-identity disorder. To explore this parallel, the furry typology, and the proposed construct of “Species Identity Disorder” needs further research.