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Practical Work at School Reduces Disgust and Fear of Unpopular Animals

By C. Randler, E. Hummel, P. Prokop

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Abstract

Disgust and fear are basic emotions that protect humans against pathogens and/or predators. Natural selection favored individuals who successfully escaped or avoided harmful animals; thus animals who pose a disease threat activate aversive responses in humans. However, all these animals who are generally disliked have rights to their own existence and play important roles in ecosystems. Here, we used three unpopular live animals (wood louse, snail, and mouse) in practical biology work with 11-13-year-old children (experimental group). The control group had no opportunity to work with animals. Reported disgust anti fear of these animals significantly decreased during the study in the experimental group but not in the control group. This study experimentally supports the idea that attitudes toward animals are positively influenced by physical contact with them.

Publication Title Society & Animals
Volume 20
Issue 1
Pages 61-74
ISBN/ISSN 1063-1119
DOI 10.1163/156853012x614369
Language English
Author Address [Randler, Christoph; Hummel, Eberhard] Univ Educ Biol & Didact, Heidelberg, Germany. [Prokop, Pavol] Trnava Univ, Trnava, Slovakia. [Prokop, Pavol] Slovak Acad Sci, Bratislava, Slovakia.Randler, C (reprint author), Univ Educ Biol & Didact, Heidelberg, Germany.randler@ph-heidelberg.de
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Tags
  1. Animals
  2. Carnivores
  3. Child behavior
  4. Children
  5. Conservation
  6. Disgust
  7. Education
  8. Empathy
  9. Fear
  10. Humane treatment
  11. identification
  12. Individuality
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. students
  15. work
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed