Tag Archives: Gerbasi

Furry Research: A Response from the IARP

Guest post by Courtney “Nuka” Plante, PhD social psychology student at the University of Waterloo, furry, and co-founder of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project. This article is a response to JM’s recent article, “Furry Research: A Look Back at Dr Gerbasi’s Landmark 2007 Study“.

Hi there! I read through (and quite enjoyed the insight in) your recent article and felt compelled to provide my take on things, (keeping in mind that Dr. Gerabsi’s article pre-dates my involvement with the furry research). Given that I’m in the lucky position of being at the forefront of our team’s research, I may be able to provide another perspective on this issue.

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Furry Research: A Look Back at Dr Gerbasi’s Landmark 2007 Study

The first notable academic study on furries is six years old. Completed in 2007 (published 2008), Gerbasi et al’s Furries from A to Z (Anthropomorphism to Zoomorphism) provides a review of furries based on 246 responses (including 217 furries) to surveys distributed at Anthrocon, plus an ad hoc ‘control group’ of 65 psychology students.

The study had two main goals: to test the validity of the usual furry stereotypes, and to investigate whether furries exhibit signs of personality disorder.

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Our Fursonas Are Happier Than We Are

We furries, or at least most of us, have multiple identities.

Like everyone, we have our outward-facing human identity, named by our parents and constricted by whatever body it happens to be contained within. Our unique outward-facing identity is closely tied to our position in society and is tied to artificial constructs that crystallize our self into an acceptable bureaucratic package, such as our passports, our social security numbers, or our Google Plus accounts.

Furries usually also create one or more fictional identities. We name ourselves, select a combination of human and animal traits to create a new body, and often a new set of personality traits. Some furries, who create an avatar with interests (or physical dimensions) that do not easily gel with the real world, go further and create a fantasy universe.

Our furry identity is a personal creation, a kind of internal ghost accompanying the human that lurks around the real world. In situations where the real world is less intrusive, like corners of the internet or furry gatherings, our furry identities assert themselves and the human – with its arbitrary name, body, and bureaucratic accoutrements – is pushed to the background.

When the furry self is at the forefront, we experience the world in a different way. And, according to recently published data from the Anthropomorphic Research Project (based at the Niagara County Community College in the USA), we experience the world through the lens of an identity that is more mature, psychologically healthier, and happier than our human selves.

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