Pet therapy in the learning environment: cognitive and emotional effects


  • Francesco Maria Melchiori
  • Isabella Barzotti


With the aim of encouraging learning using emotional intelligence, the introduction of animals as educational means is becoming, even in the school context, a practice increasingly widespread in Italy and throughout Europe. The scientific literature has highlighted how the relationship with the animal, or pet, determines in the person an increase of self-esteem and conscientiousness, and at the same time a reduction of the risk of isolation. Recent studies
have shown that empathic skills allow individuals to recognize the mental and emotional states of others and, therefore, through identification in the emotional experience lived by others, it allows a person to respond by adopting effective and appropriate behavior to different situations. The resulting social interactions also facilitate emotional balance by improving resilience.
The aim of this investigation was to observe how the interspecies interaction typical of the Animal Assisted Interventions (IAA) in the educational context can facilitate empathic attitudes and contribute to the development of the emotional factor, not only observed in its intra-individual dimension, in which the subject increases self-awareness and knows how to regulate himself, but also in its inter-individual dimension, in which the child is able to recognize and understand the experiences of personal and relational life.



How to Cite

Melchiori, F. M., & Barzotti, I. (2018). Pet therapy in the learning environment: cognitive and emotional effects. Formazione & Insegnamento, 16(2), 373–388. Retrieved from

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