How do YouTube videos impact tolerance of wolves?
December 31, 2020
The internet serves as a dominant source of information and may shape tolerance of wildlife species. Our experimental study examined how respondents’ tolerance for wolves (i.e., attitudes, acceptance, and behavior) changed after viewing wolf related YouTube videos. Respondents were randomly assigned to one of three video treatments where wolves were framed positively, neutrally (reference), or negatively. Video treatments affected people’s tolerance of wolves: negative videos promoted declines in wolf tolerance and positive videos promoted increases in wolf tolerance. Political identification impacted change in tolerance independent of treatment. We observed an interaction between age and political identification, wherein older individuals at both ends of the political spectrum exhibited larger attitudinal responses than younger individuals, with older liberals becoming more positive and older conservatives more negative regardless of treatment. Our findings suggest the creation and dissemination of positive social media content may improve public tolerance toward controversial wildlife species like wolves.
Author(s): William R. Casola , Jaclyn Rushing , Sara Futch , Victoria Vayer , Danielle F. Lawson , Michelle J. Cavalieri , Lincoln R. Larson & M. Nils Peterson