Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/30360
Appears in Collections:Psychology eTheses
Title: The Role of Emotion in Facilitating Pro-Conservation Attitudes
Author(s): Craig, Lesley Elizabeth
Supervisor(s): Vick, S J
Lee, P C
Keywords: Zoo Visitor
Attitudes to Conservation
Emotion
Great Apes
Issue Date: 14-Dec-2018
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Mitigating the impact of human activities on the environment is the biggest challenge of our time, but we lack a good understanding of the psychology that underpins people’s attitudes to conservation of species and habitats. Zoos aim to promote conservation goals but there is a paucity of research to inform best practice. For example, despite European educational guidelines stating that member zoos must both deliver and evaluate conservation education, there is limited evidence that zoos are achieving these goals. This research examines whether facilitating zoo visitor engagement influences their attitudes towards conservation, as research literature indicates that emotional engagement has the potential to promote positive attitudes. The first study examines the impact of facilitating an emotional connection to a chimpanzee on zoo visitor attitudes to conservation. Overall, results indicated that emotional connection may enhance some attitudes to conservation, but that visitor and exhibit characteristics are also important factors. The second study explored whether the type of information presented as interpretation influenced participants’ attitudes to great apes and conservation. A zoogenerally highlights physical information about a species (e.g. diet, habitat, range), whereas research suggests that humans are more likely to attend to information regarding social behaviour. The results indicated that physical information wasmore relevant,than social or husbandry information, but that social information was perceived as the most interesting, a finding validated by participants longer reading durations in this condition. However, attitudes to great apes and conservation did not differ between these three conditions and exposure to a negative or positive zoo incident involving great apes also had no impact on attitudes to their welfare or conservation. A focus group explored the experiences of young people attending a conservation and welfare programme in a zoo context, to provide a richer insight into how experiences may shape attitudes and behaviours. Four key themes were identified: Conservation, Welfare, Knowledge and Emotion, and a questionnaire identified participants’ positive attitudes to conservation, welfare and emotion. The ultimate goal of this research is to help enhance the promotion and efficacy of conservation education in the zoo, and a set of practical recommendations are provided for those working in zoo education. While zoos have considerable potential to contribute to conservation efforts, collaborative research will be necessary to address the challenges in this field and develop a sufficiently robust evidence base to inform best practice, in terms of both the implementation and evaluation of outcomes in conservation education.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/30360

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