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Supporting Conservation: The Roles of Flagship Species and Identifiable Victims

Thomas-Walters, L; Raihani, NJ; (2017) Supporting Conservation: The Roles of Flagship Species and Identifiable Victims. Conservation Letters , 10 (5) pp. 581-587. 10.1111/conl.12319. Green open access

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Abstract

Psychological insights into human behaviour can have enormous applied value for promoting charitable giving. Nevertheless, the application of these insights to conservation appeals featuring non-human animals has scarcely been explored. Although people often donate more when presented with single 'identifiable' victims, whether this effect also extends to non-humans is not known. Similarly, although many conservation appeals feature flagship species, it is unclear whether flagship species generate increased donations. We experimentally investigated how (i) identifiable versus statistical beneficiaries and (ii) flagship versus non-flagship species affected donations to a conservation charity. Unexpectedly, subjects did not donate more when presented with single identifiable beneficiaries rather than groups of beneficiaries. Flagship species, on the other hand, increased donation amounts relative to appeals featuring non-flagship species. We discuss how these findings can inform and improve the effectiveness of conservation fundraising appeals.

Type: Article
Title: Supporting Conservation: The Roles of Flagship Species and Identifiable Victims
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/conl.12319
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/conl.12319
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Identifiable victim effect; Flagship species; charitable giving; Dictator Game; cooperation; conservation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1521972
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