Social Media Contexts Moderate Perceptions of Animals

Elizabeth Riddle, Jill R D MacKay

Research output: Working paper


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. 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 an animal, but were randomly assigned to a positive or negative narrative condition. When participants were presented with the critical narrative they perceived the animal to be more stressed (χ2=13.99, p<0.001). Participants expressed reservations in 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.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2020

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