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Physical attractiveness of an animal species as a decision factor for its preservation

By A. Gunnthorsdottir

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This experimental study examines how framing an animal species as endangered affects its perceived attractiveness and how an animal's perceived attractiveness affects support for its conservation. Undergraduate students were shown a flyer from a fictitious environmental organization pleading for the protection of either a bat or an ape. The flyer contained either no picture, a picture of an attractive member of its species, or a picture of an unattractive member of its species. For both species, an animal's attractiveness substantially increased support for its protection. There was also more support for saving the species that was larger in size and more resembled humans. In a second experiment, participants rated an unattractive animal as more attractive if it was framed as endangered. There was no such effect for an animal originally perceived as attractive. The implications of the results for environmental policy and conservation support are discussed.

Date 2001
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 14
Issue 4
Pages 204-215
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Language English
Author Address Department of Management and Policy, McClelland Hall 405T, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Anthrozoology
  2. Attraction
  3. Biological resources
  4. Choice
  5. Conservation
  6. Decision making
  7. Domestic animals
  8. Endangered species
  9. Human-animal relationships
  10. peer-reviewed
  11. perceptions
  12. Wild animals
  1. peer-reviewed