Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Social media contexts moderate perceptions of animals.

Abstract

The rapid rise of social media in the past decade represents a new space where animals are represented in human society, and this may influence human perceptions, for example driving desire for exotic pet keeping. In this study, 211 participants (49% female) between the ages of 18 to 44 were recruited to an online survey where they viewed mock-up pages from a social media site. All participants saw the same image of a primate but were randomly assigned to a pro exotic pet keeping or anti exotic pet keeping narrative condition. When participants were presented with the anti narrative they perceived the animal to be more stressed (χ2 = 13.99, p < 0.001). In free text comments, participants expressed reservations in the face of a narrative they disagreed with in free text comments. Overall, this study found evidence to suggest that people moderate their discussions on human-animal interactions based on the social network they are in, but these relationships are complex and require further research.