Category: The Hierarchy of Death: Why Some Deaths “Matter” More Than Others

The “Mournability” of Death As It Pertains to Ethnicity or Nationality

There is no doubt that there is a hierarchy of mourning, which is especially influenced by the ethnicity and nationality of the people who have died. Some deaths seem more “mournable” than others, due to various factors such as media coverage, stereotypes of geographic regions and psychological factors that may impact how one may grieve different deaths. The familiarity a person has with the dead is a crucial factor in determining how “mournable” that death will be. This may explain why the lives lost in the Paris and Boston terrorist attacks were mourned more publicly and longer than the lives lost in Iraq or Palestine.

“A Palestinian child sitting on the remains of his family’s home.”

One way to look at how “mournable” a death may be to someone is to look at the process of grieving and what psychological factors impact how a person may grieve. Phenomenon such as “collapse of compassion”, “psychic numbing” and “disaster fatigue” are directly impacted by how the media portrays deaths.

One big psychological factor that not only impacts how the media covers deaths, but also how mournable a death is, is the phenomenon of the “collapse of compassion”. This term was coined by psychologist Paul Slovic and it refers to the tendency that humans have to turn away from mass tragedy. People are less sensitive to the death of a large group of people rather than the death of just one person; as the death toll rises people only see numbers, not the lives those numbers represent[1]. “Psychic numbing,” another term coined by psychologist Paul Slovic and it is quite similar to “collapse of compassion” as it is directly linked to collapse of compassion. The term “Psychic numbing” refers to the trend that shows that as the number of deaths increases, the “mournability,” or the value of those lives, decreases[2]. In order to further explain this phenomenon, Solvic uses the example of money. He says, “The difference between, say, $0 and $100 feels greater than the difference between $100 and $200. If you’re talking about $5,800 or $5,900 — [both] seem the same, even though it’s still $100 difference.” The opposite of psychic numbing is the singularity effect, which is when one life is valued and people will go to great lengths to protect that life. However, as the death toll increases this value of life is not proportional to the increase of lives lost[3]. Disaster fatigue is another phenomenon that can explain why people are “numb” to certain major crises. As more and more crises are reported in the media, such as various hurricanes, floods and famines, as each one is reported, people become desensitized to the severity and the lives lost in this disasters. This coping mechanism is called “disaster fatigue” and it is present because there is only so much tragedy humans can handle at once[4].

All these psychological factors, including collapse of compassion, disaster fatigue and psychic numbing have an impact on how some deaths are more mourned than others, as it pertains to the ethnicity of the people who died because of the way the media portrays deaths in non-Western societies. The deaths are reported in an impersonal way, people are reduced to numbers and very rarely are backstories given[5]. With this kind of coverage, people start to become “numb” to high death tolls and major crises.


“Funeral procession in the streets of Tehran following the death of the Ayatollah Khomeini.”

Directly corresponding with neurological aspects involved in mourning death, is its immediate impact on others. Although the cognitive aspect gives a general overview of the overarching effects and phenomenons that are relatable to many, the cultural aspect dives even deeper into the hierarchy of death. The primary reason some deaths are prioritized and seen as more influential than others is due to how the media portrays the deaths. The media is seen to affect how we understand, perceive, and manage death, both on an individual and collective level. Below is a conversation between two reporters, alluding to how deaths are prioritized on the news:

ANNE BARNARD: I think people here had the sense that there’s an impression that their lives don’t matter as much or their lives are expected to be part of some kind of faraway chaotic region where you just would expect things like this to be happening.

BILL KELLER: Well, there is a hierarchy of news. It’s a hierarchy of judgment, I guess. All deaths are equal to the victims and their families. But all deaths are not equal in the calculation of news value[6].

Broadcasted deaths also affect how we form social relations, and highlight how death is dealt with in private, public, and economic levels[7]. The more localized and televised the death is, the more likely it is to resonate with someone. William C. Adams, a professor attending George Washington University, questioned how news reporters reacted to natural disasters occurring within various countries. He determined the proximity of the countries to the United States impacted their mournability. Adams observed news coverages of 35 natural disasters between January 1972 and June 1985 that each took at least 300 lives, including cyclones, typhoons, hurricanes, and earthquakes. After tallying the minutes major television networks (NBC, ABC, and CBS) devoted to each, he found that the severity of the disaster did not individually predict the amount of coverage an incident received—more deaths did not necessarily translate to more airtime[8]. There is solid evidence that news outlets simply devote less time to covering or expanding on chosen events regardless of the amount of lives taken.

“Earthquake in Guatemala 1976”

Another notable factor used to determine which deaths are to be televised –and for how long– would be the desirability and attraction of the country. Countries that are more visited by American citizens receive more air time in the event of a tragedy. William C. Adams particularly mentions how an earthquake that occurred in Guatemala killed a total of around 4,000 people, yet had one third as much coverage as a similar earthquake that occurred in Italy, and killed a total of 1000 people[9]. This indicates that countries in desirable locations are given more media coverage. The “algorithm” that decides which deaths are to be broadcast is exemplified in the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the site of the bloodiest conflict since the Second World War. It is estimated that over five million people have perished here since the late 1990s, and yet these deaths have barely punctured public consciousness. Yet conflicts in the Balkans (dreadful on their own terms, but significantly less bloody) dominated headlines throughout the 1990s. It undoubtedly had much to do with the fact the victims there were Europeans, rather than Africans[10]. Because Europe is attractive to many Americans, the probability that deaths that occur in European countries are covered in the United States is more likely than those in Africa, a location comparatively few Americans visit for leisure. This variability in coverage indirectly prioritizes deaths in Europe over those in other countries, and establishes a hierarchy of death. This hierarchy of death belittles the deaths of others, which dehumanizes them and questions their worth. A current example of this dehumanization is the internment camps into which the Chinese government forces Muslims. These internment camps are meant to strip Muslims of their identity by cutting their hair, forcing them to eat pork, and forcing them to abandon their religion. (10) The little recognition and publicity given to those Muslims further dehumanizes and devalues them, which could force some to question their internal worth and reckon with the perception of their “disposability.” A lack of recognition in the news may lead Chinese Muslims to question where they lie on the hierarchy of death.

“Chinese internment camps for Uighur Muslims”

Similarly, the ethical implications of variable mourning are grim– to mourn some more than others is to acknowledge that some lives are worth more than others. Aside from the immediate discomfort many experiences when confronted with the possibility that some people are worth more than others, variability in mourning is inconsistent with a deontological moral framework. Deontology is a rules-based ethic popularized and conceived by Immanuel Kant that views action alone as morally determinate. It typically excludes circumstance and context; thus, when applying a deontological framework, one must condemn variable mournability as unethical[11].

Popular response to the death of the Ayatollah Khomeini further elucidates this claim. The Ayatollah’s image varied drastically depending on the nationality of the individual that heard of his demise; while Americans viewed the Ayatollah as a dangerous, fanatical autocrat, the majority of Iranians viewed his regime as beneficial on the whole, and embraced the extremism of his policies in part because they represented a rejection of the previous, Western colonial influence in Iran[12]. As a result, Americans responded with apathy or relief to the Ayatollah’s death, while Iranians flocked to the streets by the thousands to pay their respects to the dead leader[13].

This variability is due to the entirely coincidental circumstance of the potential mourners. The same coincidence may be extended to those on the opposite side of the equation: the dead. Philosopher Iris Young, in her book “The Myth of Merit,” asserts that meritocracy is an illusion. “Merit” is derived from factors out of the control of the meritorious such as a genetic predisposition to industry, intelligence, or physical strength, or the upbringing and society into which the meritorious was born[14]. Thus, the perceived merit that may seem to justify increased mourning for popular figures is illegitimate.

This is not to say that the only ethical course of action results in total equality of mourning and funeral rites, and is not to suggest states should enact policy changes to reflect this goal. This course of action allows for what is known as the “leveling down objection,” which contends that pure egalitarianism allows for the removal of all rights and benefits until everyone has nothing, but is equal[15]. The suggestion that variability of mourning is unethical does not condemn individuals, but rather suggests this is a problem with which multiple societies must examine and contend.

Variable mournability is a well-documented phenomenon that stems from a psychological inability to fully relate with those who are culturally and racially distinct. The phenomenon implicates Western society’s media and citizens alike, and is inconsistent with a deontological ethos. This research suggests that should the United States wish to legitimately pursue actions that are consistent with its alleged ideals of equality and humanism, particularly on a global scale, it must address variable mournability as a potential impediment to these goals.



[1] Seppala, Emma, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Stephanie L. Brown, Monica C. Worline, C. Daryl Cameron, and James R. Doty. The Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017.

[2] Slovic, Paul. “If I Look at the Mass I Will Never Act: Psychic Numbing and Genocide.” The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology Emotions and Risky Technologies, 2010, 37-59. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-8647-1_3.

[3] Resnick, Brian. “A Psychologist Explains the Limits of Human Compassion.” Vox. September 05, 2017. Accessed April 08, 2019.

[4] Michel-Kerjan, Erwann, and Erwann Michel-Kerjan. “The Collapse of Compassion.” HuffPost. May 25, 2011. Accessed April 08, 2019.

[5] Conrad, Peter, and Valerie Leiter. The Sociology of Health & Illness: Critical Perspectives. New York, NY: Worth Publishers, 2013.

[6] Folkenflik, David. “Is There A Hierarchy Of The Importance Of Death In The News Business?” NPR. November 17, 2015. Accessed April 09, 2019.

[7] Sumiala, Johanna, and Outi Hakola. 2013. “Introduction: Media and Death.” Thanatos 2 (2242–6280).

[8] Urist, Jacoba. “Which Deaths Matter?” The Atlantic. September 29, 2014. Accessed April 09, 2019.

[9] Urist, Jacoba. “Which Deaths Matter?” The Atlantic. September 29, 2014. Accessed April 09, 2019.

[10] Owen Jones. “Our Shameful Hierarchy – Some Deaths Matter More than Others.” The Independent. May 15, 2013. Accessed April 09, 2019.

[11] Johnson, Robert, and Adam Cureton. “Kant’s Moral Philosophy.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. July 07, 2016. Accessed April 09, 2019.

[12] The New York Times. “Iran’s Ruhollah Khomeini, a Man Who Shook the World.” The New York Times. June 03, 2016. Accessed April 09, 2019.

[13] Tyler, Patrick E. “THOUSANDS MOURN KHOMEINI.” The Washington Post. June 06, 1989. Accessed April 09, 2019.

[14] Young, Iris Marion. Inclusion and Democracy. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2010.

[15] Obrien, David. “Egalitarian Non Consequentialism and the Levelling down Objection.” Ratio32, no. 1 (2018): 74-83. doi:10.1111/rati.12199

The Hierarchy of Death – Animal Lives vs. Human Lives

The Hierarchy of Death: Animal Lives vs. Human Lives

What makes humans superior to animals?

What is pain? Pain is an experience of agony and despair. Pain can affect a person both mentally and physically. Verbal proclamations and facial gestures are used to determine a reaction toward a certain stimuli. Most people would say that pain is an essential aspect of the human experience as it presents us with the ability to grow and learn from our mistakes.

The meaning of the death of a human vs an animal is on the basis of a hierarchy with humans being superior. This can be attributed to many sources including, but not limited to the difficulty in assessing pain in animals. Defining pain in animals is troublesome due to the fact that animals and humans have no link in their communication. Pain can be assessed through the sensory system of nociception. [1] Nociception is the ability to respond appropriately to harmful stimuli.[2] This system protects animals and humans from further damage after encountering dangerous stimuli. Although, these nociceptors are present in even the most simple form of life, such as bacteria, they differ in how the nociception is interpreted. Humans have the capacity to turn the nociception into pain, while this parallel may not exist in animals that vary anatomically from humans. A set of criteria has been laid out to encompass animals that can perceive pain. This list includes possession of nociceptors, establishment of pathways from the nociceptors to the brain, a brain structure that serve the same purpose the human cerebral cortex does in humans, opioid receptors, a reduction in unfavorable behavior after exposure to painkillers, and finally, the learned instantaneous behavior to avoid painful stimuli.[3] It is unsafe to assume that just because an animal does not showcase signs visible to humans conveying a sense of despair, that there is no harm being done. Instead, researchers have defined pain in animals as the avoidance of aversive stimulus. This sense of misunderstanding can be applied to instances closer to home; language barriers across cultures call for other sources of communication. An example of this is the usage of a Facial Action Coding Scheme (FACS) to generate a scale relating emotions to action units (changes in the facial structure) to produce a globally applicable scale used to encode the inherent nature of emotional expression.[4]

The anatomy of humans shows great resemblance to other primates. This includes monkeys in the lab setting. To best understand the effect a certain stimuli has on humans, in hopes of determining effectiveness, what better to experiment on than a fellow mammal that humans share ancestry with? Monkey usage in lab has reached an all time high, with an increase in funding stemming from organizations such as the National Institute of Health. Reasoning for this trend has been accredited simply to “…these animals give us better data…”[5] Lab work on animals, especially mammals, usually aims in improving the lives of humans; by using animals similar to humans, the results immediately become more applicable to the human species. Unfortunately, research testing endurance of these primates can have deadly results. After a federal investigation at Harvard University’s National Primate Research Center  uncovered the death of four of their animals,[6] it faced immediate closure. This raises the question of primates being too close the human species, to be sacrificed for the sake of human development. This goes to show that humans’ superiority complex only remains intact when they are distanced from understanding the experiences of their victims.

Contrastingly, a tiny animal that falls victim to humans’ superiority is insects. The word pesticide itself has roots in the killing of pests, with pests being synonymous to a source of irritation. Pesticide research is unique, because no other method of studying has the sole purpose of termination of the species. The sensory system of nociception is evident in insects, as can be exhibited by their squirming when sprayed with pesticide. However, insects are simply not “…thought capable of suffering.”[7]  Insects will change their behavior when faced with aversive stimuli; however, in times of excruciating pain such as ingestion of their innards, they become unaware of the effects of their own actions.[8] This leads us to believe that insects have a sense of nociception, but lack the subjective feelings of pain associated with it. Self-awareness can be the differentiating factor between insects and other animals. This sense of self awareness can be found in artificial intelligence, showing its reproducibility.

Self awareness plays a crucial role in arrangement of the hierarchy of death. Although the sense of nociceptors are present in all animals, ranking of the pyramid tends to fall on whether the animal holds consciousness. Because consciousness is not easily measured experimentally, factors such as “cumulative culture”[9] of humans describes their unique understanding of one another. Humans’ ability to be integrated in a cumulative culture that accumulates over time and intensifies in complexity shows the drive to constantly build on innovations. A factor responsible for weeding out those deemed unfit for an environment is natural selection. Humans are able to adapt “…in almost all the territories of the globe.”[10] This further fosters the sense of superiority on a global level. Additionally, humans have the luxury of learning from one another, without having to experience the aversive stimuli. From being able to take precautions such as antimicrobial species to choosing the environment they wish to reside in, humans have the upper hand. Recent efforts have given humans the power to even determine where and how they die, through Physician Aid in Dying.


Comparative analysis of the brain of humans vs other animals. This image differentiates between an animal that holds consciousness and one that does not. A mouse lacks a prefrontal cortex, which explains its inferiority in the hierarchy of death.[11]

With these innovations, anatomical changes have followed. The human brain has been shown to increase to three times the size of ancient chimpanzee-bonobo lineages alive millions of years ago.[12] With this modern, enlarged brain, the neocortex has seen a drastic increase in size/thickness. The expansion of the neocortex allows for sharpened senses. Additionally, the prefrontal cortex in humans “…is proportionately larger…”[13][14] than prior ancestors; this allows for higher order functioning. This can range from planning for the future, adapting to roles, and attention span. By being able to focus on long term projects, intellectual development comes in flows. Some things were sacrificed in transition from neanderthal to the humans we are today, such as an prolonged dependency on parents.[15] However, this setback is compensated for by aspects such as the increased complexity in thought.  In addition to the experimentally determined definition of pain, the question of ethics is one of importance, especially in modern society where discussion of animal rights is on an uprise.

Are all organisms’ deaths treated equally in society?

A popular debate in the United States–whether or not animals should be used as laboratory subjects–is continuously being discussed. The ethical question of justifiable pain in living organisms as a result of laboratory testing has been addressed for decades. The nuremberg code, for example, was created in response to a complete, inhumane violation of any standard set of morals– grotesque human experimentation.


Pictured above in December 22, 1946, Jadwiga Dzido, a victim of human experimentation at the Ravensbrüeck concentration camp, can be seen being examined by a doctor during the Nuremberg Trials.[16]

If non-human lives are valued less, then their respective deaths would also be valued less- which is what propels the use of non-human animals in laboratory testing. However, if humans have an ethical responsibility to treat humans equally, shouldn’t that be applied to all sentient organisms that can feel pain?

When considering such a question, one also has to think about how society weighs human lives compared to animal lives. Legally, humans hold much more rights and responsibilities than other animals. Humans are more advanced mammals, due to their unique biological structures, “humans have the largest cerebral cortex of all mammals.”[17] Stronger development within the cerebral cortex leads to a higher functioning of complex thoughts, processes, ideas, languages, and more.[18] Biologically, humans are more advanced than animals, but does that ethically justify the use of animals in laboratory settings where their death may not hold as many legal or ethical consequences?

One should note that, even though there are standards created by the National Research Council (US) Committee on Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals, animals still feel some amount of pain within the laboratory setting. According to the same group, “some animal pain is justified in some circumstances,”[19] as the scientific benefits outweigh the potential ethical downfalls to most scientists, as the possible benefits would assist the more complex organism- humans. However, a moral code should be subjected to each scientific experiment that might induce any level of pain in animals, as they are still conscious organisms capable of the same pain humans are. According to Dr. Andrea Nolan, “How pain is sensed and the physical processes behind this are remarkably similar and well conserved across mammals and humans.”[20] Despite equivalent levels of pain each organism is capable of feeling, society still views animals as generally inferior beings[21] – as seen in the laboratory testing of animals.  With that in mind, does consciousness play a role in how society regards animal lives, and does that formulate the hierarchy of death?

In terms of consciousness, all sentient beings are considered to have some form of consciousness;[22] so, most non-human organisms will display some act of self-awareness through actions fueled by an innate purpose or goal. Therefore, even though all sentient beings form a community of life that supports each other, according to recent research[23] on moral expansiveness (the moral boundaries that dictate the progression of society), humans will most likely still value human deaths over less complex organisms’ deaths. In a paradox of a comparison, human lives were valued so much by the Mayans, that they were often sacrificed as a gift to their Gods. In addition, elderly human lives are often eaten in the process of cannibalism as a sign of respect in certain cultures. Dr. Donelley conveys that each organism is culpable for the survival and continuation of one another, as each becomes responsible for the other in the cycle of life,  “…by philosophically coming to appreciate that humans, animals, and nature are intricately interwoven in a single morally (as well as aesthetically and religiously) significant reality, we can begin to see the outlines of an overall moral outlook or perspective that comprehends or includes humans, animals, and nature (all morally matter and matter together).”[24]

Overall, due to the biological complexity, sentience and societal progression humans have constructed, humans tend to place themselves in a higher moral standard compared to other organisms, like laboratory animals. Humans, maintaining a higher status in the world as creators of infrastructure, medicine, and other advancements, view their status as higher than other organisms. Keeping humans in cages is considered abuse, while keeping laboratory animals in cages (and justifying their pain during experimentation) is legally allowed and accepted. Therefore, the death of these non-human organisms is minimized due to the standards that human society has ingrained throughout their culture and subsequent experimentation methods. Though the diversity in thought surrounding the ethics of death will continue to form from different philosophical methods, there are cultural attributes that define the hierarchy of death more coherently and distinctly.

How does culture change our perceptions of the hierarchy of death by eating habits/diets?

Culture plays a large part in our understanding of life. Cultural information taught and lived by us dictates a lot about or morals, values, habits and beliefs. Culture plays a large part in our understanding of death as well. It directs our moral compass on what deaths are acceptable, and what aren’t. I.e., hierarchy of death. Most cultures heavily focus their diets on carnivorous diets. For the purpose of clarity, let’s focus on Western (American) culture’s emphasis on acceptable diets. As humans, we do not have a instinctual habit with most things we encounter- such as animals.  “Unlike most animals, who instinctively know which foods to eat, and which to avoid, humans must learn these distinctions, relying heavily on culturally transmitted information.”[25]  Consequently, we don’t understand completely how culture dictates our diets, which contributes to our cultural hierarchy of death. Western vegetarianism/veganism compared to Western omnivore’s have statistically been proven to have different views regarding meat. According to several studies, “Although omnivores usually have positive explicit attitudes toward meat, associating it with luxury, good taste, and social status, vegetarians in the UK, Canada, and Germany tend to associate meat with cruelty, killing, disgust, and poor health.[26] [27] [28]   Western culture on hierarchy of death between humans versus animals has been divided into two understandings of humans; how animals are classified. Vegetarians/ vegans have classified animals on to a similar/ same scale as humans in terms of value of life and suffering. Studies have shown that participants who classified animals as simply a food source rated animals as significantly less capable of suffering and also less deserving of moral status.[29] The cultural context in which you are raised has a lot to do with your perceptions on animal death and consumption. It is closely associated with values and professional aspects as well. For example, a British adult who identifies as vegetarians/ vegans were more likely than omnivores to be employed in more charitable organizations, local government, education, etc.[30] American vegetarians were more likely to endorse liberal/ universalistic values like peace, social justice, equality, etc.[31] On the other side, a study in New Zealand showed those more prominent and secured in their beliefs and practices as omnivores were associated with right-wing authoritarianism.[32] In Western society, the diverse understandings of what the killing and consumption of animals is inherently linked to our culture and morals developed through our culture. The way one views an animal dictates how they feel about the importance or unimportance of their death.

Western vegetarianism is a countercultural diet that is historically associated with belief that killing animals is wrong- and has recently become concerned with health and environmental sustainability as well.[33] [34] [35] [36]   Because their diet habits were a conscious decision, Western vegetarianism is associated with the belief that animal killing is immoral and not more valuable than a human.  On the other hand, India, the country with the largest population of Vegetarians, has a different cultural understanding of the hierarchy of death of humans lives versus animals. Vegetarianism is motivated by religion in India (Hinduism and Jainism). Because of its established presence in India. For centuries, this diet has been linked to tradition, power and status.[37] [38]An important pillar in Hindu beliefs is “reincarnation” and they believe one soul may have been reincarnated from animals, but this isn’t as traditionally tied with the moral standing of an animal. It has more of an emphasis on the soul’s asceticism and purity. Religiously, Hindus are not practicing vegetarianism in respect to the welfare of animals (as Western vegetarians typically do), but because they want to keep the body free from pollution of meat.[39] [40] [41]This massive cultural difference between Indian vegetarianism and Western vegetarianism shows the difference in the hierarchy of death. Westerners focus on it because they value a human life and an animal life equally, but Hindus practice it as a way to keep their own life (human life) pure. Although they practice the same/ similar diets, it is because they have their own hierarchy of death.


 Pictured above is the Korowai Tribe. The Korowai are a tribe native to Indonesia, located in a remote Island. The Korowai tribe are one of the last tribes in the world to practice cannibalism. [42]


Moving on from how vegetarians differ in their hierarchy of death surrounding humans and animals, I would like to dive into the belief of omnivores more. How omnivores see animals as less of a moral standing than human because of their beliefs in terms of food. But, how do omnivores feel about cannibalism? If culturally, hierarchy of death is depicted by our intention or view of the killed and consumed- can cannibals justify their killing and consumption the same way omnivores do? Omnivores hold humans in a much higher regard than animals as they feel humans have more value and moral to their lives (in comparison to animals which are looked at as a necessity to maintaining our diets. But what if these omnivores encountered the Korowai tribe in New Guinea, the last known people to practice cannibalism? Traditionally, people from the tribe will only kill and consume the “Khakhua”, or in other words witches who take on the forms of men. Because of their little to no contact with the outside world, they are oblivious to the germs and diseases that infest their land. So, usually they put the blame onto the “khakhua” and use this as their justification to eat him. Because it is in their culture, is it wrong? Can omnivores justify their means of killing animals but reject the Korowai practice of eating someone they believe to be the enemy? The justification by the Korowai is the claim that they do not eat humans, they only eat khakhua. They demoralize and simplify their view of the khakhua, the same way humans do for animals. To the khakhua, their hierarchy of death is a bit more complicated than omnivores and vegetarians, but their justification is similar.

Culture’s effect on our outlook the of hierarchy of death is extremely prevalent. Dependent on our culture, we may be vegetarians for the sake of valuing our deaths more than humans, or because we value animals lives as much as human lives, or because sometimes not all human lives are ranked equally which therefore justifies cannibalism. The diversity among our morals and standards is drastic and is evident from comparing culture to culture. Hierarchy of death will always be dependent on a person’s individual upbringing or beliefs/morals and that is what makes these hierarchies so subjective.

Kaniz Momin – Scientific Perspective

Julia Walia – Ethical Perspective

Urooj Baig – Cultural Perspective

Works Cited


[1] Sneddon, Lynne U., Robert W. Elwood, Shelley A. Adamo, and Matthew C. Leach. “Defining and    Assessing Animal Pain.” Animal Behaviour 97, (2014): 201-212.

[2]  Sneddon, Lynne U., Robert W. Elwood, Shelley A. Adamo, and Matthew C. Leach. “Defining and    Assessing Animal Pain.” Animal Behaviour 97, (2014): 201-212.

[3]  Sneddon, Lynne U., Robert W. Elwood, Shelley A. Adamo, and Matthew C. Leach. “Defining and    Assessing Animal Pain.” Animal Behaviour 97, (2014): 201-212.

[4]  Sneddon, Lynne U., Robert W. Elwood, Shelley A. Adamo, and Matthew C. Leach. “Defining and    Assessing Animal Pain.” Animal Behaviour 97, (2014): 201-212.

[5]  Grimm, D. “US Labs using a Record Number of Monkeys.” Science 362, no. 6415 (2018): 630-630.

[6]  Grimm, D. “US Labs using a Record Number of Monkeys.” Science 362, no. 6415 (2018): 630-630.

[7]  Adamo, Shelley Anne. “Do Insects Feel Pain? A Qauestion at the Intersection of Animal Behaviour, Philosophy and Robotics.” Animal Behaviour 118, (2016): 75-79.

[8]  Adamo, Shelley Anne. “Do Insects Feel Pain? A Question at the Intersection of Animal Behaviour, Philosophy and Robotics.” Animal Behaviour 118, (2016): 75-79.

[9]  Yurtoğlu, Nadir. History Studies International Journal of History10, no. 7 (2018): 241-64. doi:10.9737/hist.2018.658.

[10]  Yurtoğlu, Nadir. History Studies International Journal of History10, no. 7 (2018): 241-64. doi:10.9737/hist.2018.658.

[11] Cole, M. “Human Versus Non-Human Neuroscience.” Neurevolution, March 24, 2007.

[12]  Kaas, Jon H. “The Evolution of Brains from Early Mammals to Humans.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews:     Cognitive Science 4, no. 1 (2013): 33-45.

[13]  Kaas, Jon H. “The Evolution of Brains from Early Mammals to Humans.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science 4, no. 1 (2013): 33-45.

[14]  Cole, MW. “Human Versus Non-Human Neuroscience.” (2001)

[15]   Kaas, Jon H. “The Evolution of Brains from Early Mammals to Humans.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews:     Cognitive Science 4, no. 1 (2013): 33-45.

[16]  “THE DOCTORS TRIAL: THE MEDICAL CASE OF THE SUBSEQUENT NUREMBERG PROCEEDINGS.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed April 4, 2019.

[17]  n.d. “Adult Human Brain.” Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center . University of California. Accessed March 27, 2019.

[18] Shaw, Philip , Noor  Kabani, Jason Lerch, Kristen Eckstrand, and Rhoshel Lenroot. 2008. “Neurodevelopmental Trajectories of the Human Cerebral Cortex.” The Journal of Neuroscience 28 (14): 3586–94.

[19] n.d. “Pain in Research Animals: General Principles and Considerations.” National Center for Biotechnological Information. Accessed March 27, 2019.

[20] Nolan, Andrea. 2015. Do animals FEEL PAIN like we do? The Epoch Times, Jul 15, 2015. (accessed April 3, 2019).

[21] Amiot, Catherine , and Brock Bastian. 2017. “Solidarity with Animals: Assessing a Relevant Dimension of Social Identification with Animals.” Plos One, January.

[22] Shephard, Joshua. 2017. “The Moral Insignificance of Self‐consciousness.” European Journal of Philosophy 25 (2): Pages 398-415.

[23] Bastian, B, D Crimson, PG  Bain, and MJ Hornsey. 2016. “Moral Expansiveness: Examining Variability in the Extension of the Moral World.” National Center for Biotechnology Information 111 (4): 53–636.

[24] Donnelley, Strachan. 1999. “How and Why Animals Matter .” Oxford Academic 40 (1): 22–28.

[25]  S. Kitayama, D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of cultural psychology, Guilford, New York (2007), pp. 391-416

[26]  S.I. Barr, G.E. Chapman “Perceptions and practices of self-defined current vegetarian, former vegetarian, and nonvegetarian women” Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 102 (3)

[27]   P.M. Kenyon, M.E. Barker “Attitudes towards meat-eating in vegetarian and non-vegetarian teenage girls in England—An ethnographic approach”Appetite, 30 (1998), pp. 185-198,

[28]   J. Stockburger, B. Renner, A.I. Weike, A.O. Hamm, H.T. Schupp “Vegetarianism and food perception. Selective visual attention to meat pictures”Appetite, 52 (2009), pp. 513-516, 10.1016/j.appet.2008.10.001

[29]  B. Bratanova, S. Loughnan, B. Bastian “The effect of categorization as food on the perceived moral standing of animals” Appetite, 57 (2011), pp. 193-196, 10.1016/j.appet.2011.04.020

[30]  C.R. Gale, I.J. Deary, I. Schoon, G.D.Batty “IQ in childhood and vegetarianism in adulthood. 1970 British cohort study” British Medical Journal, 334 (2007), pp. 245-248, 10.1136/bmj.39030.675069.55

[31]  T. Dietz, A.S. Frisch, L. Kalof, P.C. Stern, G.A. Guagnano “Values and vegetarianism. An exploratory analysis

Rural Sociology”, 60 (3) (1995), pp. 533-542, 10.1111/j.1549-0831.1995.tb00589.x

[32]  M.W. Allen, M. Wilson, S.H. Ng, M.Dunne “Values and beliefs of vegetarians and omnivores” The Journal of Social Psychology, 140(4) (2000), pp. 405-422, 10.1080/00224540009600481

[33]  M. Joy, “Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows. An introduction to carnism” Conari Press, San Francisco (2009)

[34]  P. Rozin, “Meat” S. Katz (Ed.), Encyclopedia of food, Scribner, New York, NY (2004), pp. 666-671

[35]  T. Stuart, “The bloodless revolution. Radical vegetarians and the discovery of India” Harper Press, London (2006)

[36]  J. Twigg, “Food for thought. Purity and vegetarianism Religion”, 9 (1979), pp. 13-35, 10.1016/0048-721X(79)90051-4

[37]  R. Preece, “Sins of the flesh. A history of ethical vegetarian thought” UBC Press, Vancouver (2008)

[38]  C. Spencer “The heretic’s feast. A history of vegetarianism” Fourth Estate, London (1993)

[39]  P. Caplan, “Crossing the veg/non-veg divide. Commensality and sociality among the middle classes in Madras/Chennai” South Asia. Journal of South Asian Studies, 31 (1) (2008), pp. 118-142, 10.1080/00856400701874742

[40]  R. Preece, “Sins of the flesh. A history of ethical vegetarian thought” UBC Press, Vancouver (2008)

[41]  C. Spencer, “The heretic’s feast. A history of vegetarianism”.Fourth Estate, London (1993)

[42]“Korowai People – One of the Last Tribes in the World to Practice Cannibalism.” DocumentaryTube, August 14, 2015.



Is the Death of Infants Ranked Higher than that of the Elderly?

Death is the great equalizer that affects all of the world, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, but not all deaths are equal and not all deaths gain recognition and publicity in the same way.[i] In the this approach to the hierarchy of life and death, the two major points of interest are the beginning and the end: the bookends of life. Both events have become increasing medicalized due to advancing technology and influx of research[ii] and in some cases become topics of public debate. So which death matters more: the death of an infant or the death of an elderly person? The ranking of lives may seem unethical and an uncomfortable topic to discuss but subconsciously an answer to this question may already have formed in your head. The research gathered will show that in general the deaths of infants matter more in US society than that of the elderly. Evidence is found by examining people’s attitudes and general opinions regarding both scenarios, comparing the popularity of the topic and amount of legislature surrounding abortion and the care of infants versus geriatric care, and by analyzing how the US society views/handles older people and infants compared to other cultures.

Barring the initial pause, one may have in deliberating as to whether infants’ deaths are more pressing than deaths of the elderly, we must examine the ethics of the argument and then the dilemmas such a conclusion may cause.

Is it ethical to intrinsically care more for infants as they develop than for the elderly as they wither? Analyzing the societal standards for care between the groups is pertinent in assessing that there is a discrepancy in care. As revealed by Teller’s article on parenthood religion, the “baby on board” placards that have become ubiquitous in American culture reveal the extreme attention given to infant care[iii]. If it were not intrinsically coordinated that an infant’s life was superior and important to others, such a sign would not exist. The absence of signs cautioning others of onboard, fragile elders also details the internal US belief that human life is most valued at birth. Further, the actual fragility of children is not as important as most think. This is especially in the comparison of the elderly as infant mortality rates fall worldwide, and are as low 2% (>36 weeks)[iv].

Bairoliya N, Fink G (2018) “Causes of death and infant mortality rates among full-term births in the United States between 2010 and 2012: An observational study”. PLoS Med 15(3): e1002531. Mar. 20, 2018. Accessed April 5, 2019.

Relative Mortality Risk in the U.S.

It seems the evidence and analytics point to a strict emotional attachment to infancy death which forces individuals to care about infant’s deaths more so than death of the elderly. In an ethical evaluation, it does not make sense to value such infancy lives more.

To further exemplify how US society ranks the death of infants higher than that of the elderly, it is important to examine the way other cultures compare. One of the biggest indicators of the cultural differences is seeing how elderly foreigners here in the US respond to western medical practices. The US comprises of many immigrants whose children were born here and their views align more to a modern way of living which at times can be starkly different than their older generation’s traditional ways.[v] Conflicts and dilemmas arise when an older foreign person is being treated in a hospital and feels disregarded due to the lack of communication, perhaps from a literal language barrier, or from the vast difference in perspectives on how the US cares for the elderly. For example, a Chinese man stopped taking his medication and showing up to his medical appointments because they were invasive, cold, and did not align with his cultural views. An older Filipino man was in poor condition and the doctors recommended to his daughters that he should be moved to hospice care. The daughters wanted the doctors to tell their father it was their professional decision and mandatory he be moved because they knew he didn’t want to be taken from his home per Filipino cultural values and he would be disappointed in his daughters for not standing by his needs or holding the values to the same standard. The doctors couldn’t tell comply with the daughters wishes and the situation was hard to resolve. Western medical practices relating to the care of the elderly are seen by others as trying to return the patient to productive, economically rewarding work, controlling of practice, procedure, and information, and strictly monitoring the patient and altering practices to standardize outcome.[vi] This further supports that there is less care and less priority given to the deaths of the elderly and their care up until that point.

One standardized way of handling the elderly is through the use of nursing homes or life care facilities but do the elderly really want to spend their final days isolated from the rest of society? Research supports that living in care homes can be humiliating for the elderly and further the idea that they are a burden on society due to their lack of independence which is so highly valued in US culture.[vii] Though many elderly live in nursing homes or by themselves, not all do and many live with and rely on their families though this can still highlight their dependence on others and further their self-view as a burden. Studies also show that social disconnectedness is associated with worse mental and physical health and leads to increased rates of mortality and morbidity regardless of if the feelings are prompted from being abandoned or perceived lack of social support from family.[viii]

Health vs. Isolation Graph

Seniors view nursing homes as a place to go to die and once you go in you don’t leave, but they comply because they don’t want to burden their families or lose pride by admitting they cannot do what they once could. Because of the heavy reliance on nursing homes and in care facilities, seniors are more isolated from society which leads to higher mortality rates and feelings of loneliness.

This mindset of burden others is an Anglo American view and is virtually nonexistent in other cultures.[ix] Due to increased medicalization in the US, people’s perspectives on aging are shifting and seniors are expected to be independent longer and their care and inevitable deaths are less emphasized, however other cultures put extreme emphasis on respect and dignity for their elders.[x]  Japan has cultural values of high respect for the elderly ingrained into their society. They even have a day dubbed Respect for the Aged Day which is far more serious than it may seem; neighborhood volunteers take free food to the elderly and some villages hold special performances and ceremonies for the elderly.[xi] Many generations live together under one roof which may contribute to the long life spans attributed with happiness and longevity and higher population of elderly that have become characteristic of the country. Japan also engages in death rituals and places significance on respecting ancestors.[xii] Nearly 90% of the Japanese observe the custom of annual visits to ancestral graves and ancestor worship is a fundamental principle of culture and identity which has remained a priority despite changes in modernization and economic growth.[xiii] Similarly, rituals and respect for the elders are a crucial part of Chinese society. In fact, paying respect to the elderly by way of emotional and financial support is now a part of Chinese law.[xiv] Parents can sue their own children if they feel they are not receiving what has been culturally deemed appropriate. This societal value may stem from the ancestral value placed on the dead because many Chinese believe they continue to influence the fortunes of the living from the grave.[xv] Therefore, respect is shown throughout an elder’s life and by performing these rituals because of the continued relationship between the living and the dead.

The United States is a comparatively young nation to other countries. Thus, our belief system in treating our populace varies vastly from foreign countries. As pointed out culturally, this includes how we treat our elderly vs. our infants. Both parties are humans and should be, in theory, entitled to the same treatment. However, the elderly are a learned party that usually only needs assistance due to a handicap of ability. Infants are blank slates that must be looked after and educated. It may be this inability to experience life and learn from it that puts individuals in a moral conundrum– it is unfair that this poor infant won’t be able to experience life and will be taken away early without ability to fulfill any sort of aspiration. The absence of opportunity pushes us to care for infants more. Does this fit in an ethical framework? No, the death of an adult person is a tragedy because a sophisticated unique consciousness has been lost; a life in progress, of plans and ideals and relationships with other persons, has been broken off. The death of a young child, is also a tragedy, but it seems a comparatively one-sided one, the loss of a tremendously important part of the parents’ lives[xvi]. It seems the Chinese have taken this frame of thought and accurately applied it to their way of caregiving and weight of importance in deaths. They have learned and appreciate the value of a lifetime of experience and knowledge. This comparison between the US and other cultures brings to light how different the ranking of the elderly fall in the hierarchy of death. Because of the ritual traditions that are a fundamental part of society and the belief that ancestors can still have some power after death, other societies such as Japan and China, put great importance on the care for the elderly and their subsequent deaths. Since the US does not have a singular culture or a long history, these traditions and values are lost and the general focus falls on economic progress and self-sustainability which leaves the elderly forgotten, less respected and cared for and their deaths seen as inevitable events.

As for deaths surrounding infants, it’s easy to see why it should rank higher than that of an elderly in the sense that a baby is young, pure, and innocent with its whole life ahead of it. But another reason the US can be perceived as putting so much emphasis on infant deaths can stem from the immense popularity surrounding abortion legislation. This topic has been majorly divisive in the US with both sides becoming increasingly vocal and has even gained a foothold in political campaigns.[xvii] In contrast, the US lacks adequate health care and legislation surrounding geriatric care and as lifespans increase, many elderly have to stay employed longer because they cannot afford to retire.[xviii] The debate surrounding abortion and whether or not this should be considered the killing of an infant is also found worldwide.

Abortion Laws Around the World

Though it is worth noting that the US created legislation surrounding the Roe vs. Wade case that bars criminalizing abortion.[xix] Some believe overturning the decisions from that case could result in laws that look more like some foreign countries’ where there are tight restrictions and outright bans.[xx] While laws and regulations differ among the world, the US places great emphasis on this topic and supporters of both sides make their voices known through bumper stickers or t-shirts.[xxi] This sort of popularity and prominence is not found regarding the deaths of the older generations, there are no political campaigns or movements that make supporting t-shirts for their cause. A contrasting cultural view is in Alto do Cruzeiro where many infants die each year due to starvation and dehydration and chances of survival are slim. The society gives seemingly little attention to these deaths. In fact, women have been found to view their infants’ death as a blessing or great relief saying they feel “unburdened and free”.[xxii] These views are not because they are cold and unfeeling but much in the way it is natural and expected for an older person to die, this is the case for the infants in Alto do Cruzeiro. From these findings it can be concluded that the death of an infant in the US, whether by choice or not, will rank higher and have more care and emotion surrounding it than the death of an elderly person.


After examining the cultural ramifications and the ethics of the Hierarchy of Death, one must also consider the science behind why people value infant deaths more than those of the elderly. The underlying reasons that have influenced cultures around the world stem from biology and evolution.  Ethology is the area of study that focuses on animal or human behavior from a biological perspective. While not as popular a science as ecology or chemistry, it provides vital insight into why humans care so much for their infants. Ethologists are particularly concerned with the evolutionary reasons behind why species engage in certain behaviors and the work of Konrad Lorenz is essential in the current understanding of how and why parents bond with their child. Cuteness is a very subjective term that is used to describe the attractiveness that is typically associated with youthful features. Kindchenschema, as described by Lorenz is defined as the common infantile features such as a large head, round face, and big eyes that many perceive as cute.[xxiii] He proposed that these features induce caretaking behavior from other humans. Indeed, cuteness acts a promoter of sociality, and the bonds formed as a result of this endows the cute entity with greater moral consideration. For instance, cuteness27 can directly affect the neural network in such a manner that promotes adults to have a sense of carefree playfulness around babies.[xxiv]

A 1978 study by Hildebrandt KA revealed that the initial response of adults towards babies is increased facial zygomaticus muscle activity, or more succinctly put, a smile.[xxv] A more recent study, also found that Kindchenschema is present across both species and ethnicities.[xxvi] Participants were given three categories: African babies, Caucasian babies, and puppies. There were about 100 pictures collected for each category and in each category, the participant would rate the cuteness of the infant face on a scale from 1 to 7.  The order of the pictures was set up such that the cute and less cute pictures were paired together but the two presented pictures were always in the same category. To clarify, the participants never compared an African baby with a Caucasian baby or with a dog. Their purpose in doing that was to increase the probability that the difference in cuteness between two pictures could be perceived. What they found was that the mean cuteness was the same for all three different groups.

When a child is born there is a flush of oxytocin in the mother that helps to facilitate the mother-child bonding process. Fathers do not always instantly fall in love, and oxytocin levels only surge when the father can spend time caring for the children. Regardless of the difference in how the bond is initially formed, assuming that it is a stable family, fathers still feel a deep emotional attachment to their child. The loss of an infant can be a deafening blow to the family. They created a bond with the child and not too long after the creation of that bond, the child is taken from them.

Technology has afforded many people access to greater prenatal and neonatal health care. The commonly cited statistic that the life expectancy during medieval times was 30 has led to a gross misunderstanding of what life was back then. The alarmingly short life-span of 30 years is a result[xxvii] of the fact that pre-modern civilizations had high amounts of infant mortality, thus skewing the result. If infantile death was more common before modern medicine, then could newlywed couples be expected to have to bury a child? If so then there may[xxviii]  be less emotional attachment involved in the early years of raising children. Nowadays, infants are expected to live to adulthood and a great deal of biomedical technology is focused on sustaining life as long as possible.[xxix]

After explaining through ethology why infants are so valued by society, one may ask where that leaves the geriatric population. While some people have taken to calling the elderly cute, they don’t carry the Kindchenschema that makes people want to take care of them. Unfortunately, that does not alter the fact that many elderly people still need close care towards the end of their life, and they are underrepresented in clinical research. The lack of representation means that it is easier for the geriatric population to slip through the cracks of scientific academia.[xxx] Beyond the weight of importance assigned to the lives/deaths of the elderly and infants is how care in the stages prior to the death of each differ and why the difference between the two is not fair nor ethical in practice. In terms of care, elderly are usually confined to homes or hospices that will take care of their daily needs and house them as they deteriorate. There has not been much innovation in the US healthcare system in regards to elderly end of life care. In fact, most of the technology implemented to assist the caregiving of the elderly has been remote-centric[xxxi]. That is, partitioning caregivers even further away from patients. This type of care is completely opposite of that given to infants. Infants are often put in care centers and with professionals which have proven positive effects[xxxii]. These effects include increased academic scoring, sociability, and resistance to communicable disease. While the elderly are not necessarily in need of improvement to academic sociability, the likeness of the other factors would surely benefit their health. It is unethical to not offer the same sort of care to the elderly on a similar scale. The availability of such a system might force US culture to value deaths of the elderly more as investment in them increases. Evolution and biology values organisms that are fit to have reproductive success. In a strikingly similar but more cultural vein, humans have an innate affinity to value other humans that have a capacity to contribute to society. Babies of course cannot contribute to society in the same capacity that an adult could, but thanks to their “cute” features, they don’t have reason to worry about how well they can perform their societal role.

When considering the scientific mechanisms behind how humans can bond with their children, it becomes apparent that babies have been refined by evolution in such a manner that it causes the parent to instinctively want to be a caregiver. The elderly have no such biological function and have to rely on the social bonds that they have already made. It is because of this that scientific evidence points towards infantile death being given more attention than geriatric death.


Madeleine Smith, Alexander Rassouli, Tyler Dunston


[i] Jones, Owen. “Our Shameful Hierarchy – Some Deaths Matter More than Others.” The Independent. May 15, 2013. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[ii] Welch, Gilbert H. “The Medicalization of Life.” Los Angeles Times. March 15, 2010. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[iii] Teller, Danielle. “How American parenting is killing the American marriage”. Quartz. Sept. 30, 2014. Accessed April 5, 2019.

[iv] Bairoliya N, Fink G (2018) “Causes of death and infant mortality rates among full-term births in the United States between 2010 and 2012: An observational study”. PLoS Med 15(3): e1002531. Mar. 20, 2018. Accessed April 5, 2019.

[v]Gerontology & Geriatrics Education.” Taylor and Francis Online. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[vi]How Society Misunderstands the Elderly.” U.S. News & World Report. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[vii] “Cultural Perspectives of Meals Expressed by Patients in Geriatric Care.” International Journal of Nursing Studies. March 02, 1999. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[viii] Cornwell, Erin York, and Linda J. Waite. “Social Disconnectedness, Perceived Isolation, and Health among Older Adults.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior. March 2009. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[ix]How Society Misunderstands the Elderly.” U.S. News & World Report. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[x]How Society Misunderstands the Elderly.”

[xi] Chavez, Amy. “Planet Tokyo.” Tokyo. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[xii]Japanese Funeral.” Japanese Funeral, Traditions and Customs. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[xiii] “The Challenge of Ancestor Worship in Japan.” University of Pretoria. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link..

[xiv] Brenoff, Ann, and Ann Brenoff. “Who’s The Adult In Your Family?” HuffPost. December 10, 2013. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[xv] Yeo, and Teresa Rebecca. “Chinese Death Rituals.” Infopedia. November 30, 2015. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[xvi] Wells, Thomas Rodham. “Children are special, but not particularly important”. 3QuartsDaily. Jan. 19, 2015. Accessed April 5, 2019.

[xvii] Shain, R. N. “A Cross-cultural History of Abortion.” Clinics in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. March 1986. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[xviii] “Older Adults in US Sicker Than Those in Other Countries.” Older Adults in US Sicker Than Those in Other Countries. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[xix] Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. “Death Without Weeping.” In Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil, 179-89. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992.

[xx] “Abortion around World: The Countries with Most Restrictive Laws and Why Debate Is Back in Spotlight.” The Telegraph. May 23, 2018. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[xxi] Shain, R. N. “A Cross-cultural History of Abortion.” Clinics in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. March 1986. Accessed April 03, 2019. Link.

[xxii] Glocker, Melanie L., Daniel D. Langleben, Kosha Ruparel, James W. Loughead, Ruben C. Gur, and Norbert Sachser. “Baby Schema in Infant Faces Induces Cuteness Perception and Motivation for Caretaking in Adults.” Ethology : Formerly Zeitschrift Fur Tierpsychologie. March 2009. Accessed April 08, 2019. Link.

[xxiii] Golle, Jessika, Fabian Probst, Fred W. Mast, and Janek S. Lobmaier. “Preference for Cute Infants Does Not Depend on Their Ethnicity or Species: Evidence from Hypothetical Adoption and Donation Paradigms.” PLOS ONE. Accessed April 08, 2019. Link.

[xxiv] Senese, Vincenzo Paolo, Simona De Falco, Marc H. Bornstein, Andrea Caria, Simona Buffolino, and Paola Venuti. “Human Infant Faces Provoke Implicit Positive Affective Responses in Parents and Non-Parents Alike.” PLoS ONE 8, no. 11 (2013). Accessed April 8, 2019. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080379.

[xxv] Senese, “Human Infant Faces Provoke Implicit Positive Affective Responses in Parents and Non-Parents Alike.”.

[xxvi] Golle, “Preference for Cute Infants Does Not Depend on Their Ethnicity or Species: Evidence from Hypothetical Adoption and Donation Paradigms.”

[xxvii] Senese, “Human Infant Faces Provoke Implicit Positive Affective Responses in Parents and Non-Parents Alike.”.

[xxviii] Senese, “Human Infant Faces Provoke Implicit Positive Affective Responses in Parents and Non-Parents Alike.”.

[xxix] Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Children and Their Families. “BEREAVEMENT EXPERIENCES AFTER THE DEATH OF A CHILD.” When Children Die: Improving Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Children and Their Families. January 01, 1970. Accessed April 08, 2019. Link.

[xxx] Shenoy, Premnath, and Anand Harugeri. “Elderly Patients’ Participation in Clinical Trials.” Perspectives in Clinical Research. 2015. Accessed April 08, 2019. Link.

[xxxi] Tao, Hang; McRoy, Susan. “Caring for and keeping the elderly in their homes”. College of Nursing, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Aug. 29, 2015. Accessed April 5, 2019.

[xxxii] Bradley RH, Vandell DL. “Child Care and the Well-being of Children”. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. July 2007. 161(7):669–676. Accessed April 5, 2019.


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