Understanding shark-related cognitive vulnerability and its role in shark diving

Published on
17 July 2022

Understanding shark-related cognitive vulnerability and its role in shark diving: implications for conservation

Xiaodi Yan, Maria Knight Lapinski, Meredith Gore, Lindsay Neuberger, Kate Grayson-Sneed


Negative perceptions and vulnerable feelings about sharks have been one of the greatest barriers to effective shark conservation efforts. This study used a self-report survey of young adults in a coastal state (N = 616) to examine how shark-related risk perceptions (severity and susceptibility) and sensation-seeking tendency influence cognitive vulnerability to sharks and its affective, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes. Results of a path analysis showed that perceived susceptibility was positively associated with cognitive vulnerability to sharks, which in turn was negatively related to behavioral intention to shark dive. Perceived severity was associated with higher levels of fear, less favorable attitudes toward shark diving, and had a negative indirect effect on behavioral intention through attitude. Sensation-seeking had both a direct and an indirect effect through attitude on behavioral intention to shark diving. Theoretical and practical implications of findings in human-wildlife interactions are described.

Human Dimensions of Wildlife, DOI: 10.1080/10871209.2022.2101720


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