A one year experimental study examining emotions and environmental action has successfully been completed by the Nestor Research Group of the University of Cyprus. This study was undertaken on behalf of Birdlife Cyprus, which funded this work through a grant from the A.G. Leventis Foundation. The main objective of this study was to examine the effect of reasoned argumentation and emotional appeals on the knowledge, attitudes and behavior related to illegal bird trapping.
The results of this pioneer study were presented at the University of Cyprus on 23 November 2016 by two lecturers from the Department of Social and Political Sciences that undertook this work. The event was very well attended by more than 60 people and a very interesting discussion followed with BirdLife Cyprus giving commentary on the results and the audience providing its own perspective and asking questions.
The study relied on a sample of 217 University of Cyprus undergraduates. With regards to knowledge, the findings of the study showed that some of the most important facts regarding this specific problem escaped the attention of the vast majority of the participants e.g. that at least 153 bird species are affected from illegal bird trapping. Equally interesting were the findings regarding attitude and behavior which showed that induced emotions, especially anger, can help change attitudes and mobilize people for an environmental cause, in this case against illegal bird trapping.
BirdLife Cyprus will be using the findings of this study to build on and to look for ways to mobilize parts of the silent anti-trapping majority of the public, by tailoring its actions and messages in order to blend reasoned argumentation with emotional appeals within its anti-trapping awareness campaign.