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Attitudes toward animals: a study of Portuguese children

By A. Almeida, C. Vasconcelos, O. Strecht-Ribeiro

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In this study we analyzed the attitudes toward different animals in 210 Portuguese children: 107 boys and 103 girls, aged between 8 and 10 years, attending the 3rd and 4th years of primary school. We used a questionnaire with two distinct parts. In the first part, the children were asked about the degree to which they liked 25 different animals, using a scale ranging from -7 (strongly dislike) to 7 (like very much), and to give their reasons for the value attributed. In the second part, they were asked whether in the event of the animals being threatened with extinction, it would be important to save any of them. We also asked for the reasons for their opinion. The most popular animals were big mammals and also birds. Certain gender differences were present, with boys preferring predators and other animals with a traditionally bad image, like bats and sharks. The most disliked animals were insects, but also those that were thought of as a danger to humans. However, we found a moderate positive correlation between liking and saving an animal, although this was lower in the case of the girls toward several animals. This shows that a negative perception of an animal does not always mean a negative attitude toward it. In part, the reasons for liking an animal were different from the reasons for saving it. All the results are important for the design of primary school teaching activities involving animals, including the fact that some reasons that the children gave revealed a lack of knowledge about the meaning of certain behaviors of the animals and of their ecological role.

Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 173-190
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.2752/175303714x13903827487403
Language English
Author Address Lisbon Higher School of Education, Center of Geology, Oporto University, Porto, Portugal.ajcalmeidageo@gmail.com
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal ecology
  2. Animals
  3. Anthrozoology
  4. Aquacultural and fisheries
  5. Aquatic organisms
  6. Arthropods
  7. Attitudes
  8. Bats
  9. Biological control
  10. Birds
  11. Boy
  12. Children
  13. Ecology
  14. Fish
  15. Girls
  16. Humans
  17. Insects
  18. Invertebrates
  19. Mammals
  20. Men
  21. natural enemies
  22. peer-reviewed
  23. predators
  24. Primates
  25. Questionnaires
  26. Schools
  27. sharks
  28. Social psychology and social anthropology
  29. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed