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Butterfly Eyespots: Their Potential Influence on Aesthetic Preferences and Conservation Attitudes.

Manesi Z, Van Lange PA, Pollet TV - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Four online experimental studies, involving 613 participants, demonstrated that eyespots significantly increased liking for a butterfly species.Furthermore, eyespots significantly increased positive attitudes towards conservation of a butterfly species (Studies 1, 2 and 4), whereas liking mediated the eyespot effect on conservation attitudes (Study 2).However, we also found some mixed evidence for an association between eyespots and actual conservation behavior (Studies 3 and 4).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Social and Organizational Psychology, Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, VU Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Research has shown that the mere presence of stimuli that resemble eyes is sufficient to attract attention, elicit aesthetic responses, and can even enhance prosocial behavior. However, it is less clear whether eye-like stimuli could also be used as a tool for nature conservation. Several animal species, including butterflies, develop eye-like markings that are known as eyespots. In the present research, we explored whether the mere display of eyespots on butterfly wings can enhance: (a) liking for a butterfly species, and (b) attitudes and behaviors towards conservation of a butterfly species. Four online experimental studies, involving 613 participants, demonstrated that eyespots significantly increased liking for a butterfly species. Furthermore, eyespots significantly increased positive attitudes towards conservation of a butterfly species (Studies 1, 2 and 4), whereas liking mediated the eyespot effect on conservation attitudes (Study 2). However, we also found some mixed evidence for an association between eyespots and actual conservation behavior (Studies 3 and 4). Overall, these findings suggest that eyespots may increase liking for an animal and sensitize humans to conservation. We discuss possible implications for biodiversity conservation and future research directions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Aesthetics as a mediator of the relationship between eyespots and butterfly conservation attitudes (Study 2).Schematic model depicting the mediating role of aesthetic preferences in: (a) the relationship between eyespots and concern for conservation of B. anynana butterflies, and (b) the relationship between eyespots and support for conservation actions towards B. anynana butterflies. Note. ****p< .00001, ***p≤ .001. Entries are unstandardized regression coefficients and n = 208.
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pone.0141433.g003: Aesthetics as a mediator of the relationship between eyespots and butterfly conservation attitudes (Study 2).Schematic model depicting the mediating role of aesthetic preferences in: (a) the relationship between eyespots and concern for conservation of B. anynana butterflies, and (b) the relationship between eyespots and support for conservation actions towards B. anynana butterflies. Note. ****p< .00001, ***p≤ .001. Entries are unstandardized regression coefficients and n = 208.

Mentions: We explored the potential mediating role of aesthetic preferences in the relationship between eyespots and conservation attitudes towards butterflies, using two statistical approaches. First, we focused on the levels of concern for butterfly protection (DV2). Regression analyses demonstrated a statistical significance for both the a-path (eyespot effect on aesthetic preferences, B = .67, SE(B) = .16, t(206) = 4.22, p = .001, 95% CI, 0.34–0.95) and the b-path (eyespot effect on concern for butterfly protection, B = .30, SE(B) = .13, t(206) = 2.28, p = .027, 95% CI, 0.05–0.53). Based on this result, a mediation analysis was conducted (see [76] using 10,000 bootstrap replicates). As shown in Fig 3, data from the mediation analysis support the mediating role of aesthetic preferences in the relationship between eyespots and concern for butterfly protection (B = .30, SE(B) = .05, t(205) = 5.60, p< .00001, 95% CI, 0.19–0.40). After controlling for aesthetic preferences, the effect of eyespots on the levels of concern for butterfly protection became non-significant (B = .10, SE(B) = .13, t(205) = .77, p = .445, 95% CI, -0.15–0.35), which suggests that there is a full mediation of the effect.


Butterfly Eyespots: Their Potential Influence on Aesthetic Preferences and Conservation Attitudes.

Manesi Z, Van Lange PA, Pollet TV - PLoS ONE (2015)

Aesthetics as a mediator of the relationship between eyespots and butterfly conservation attitudes (Study 2).Schematic model depicting the mediating role of aesthetic preferences in: (a) the relationship between eyespots and concern for conservation of B. anynana butterflies, and (b) the relationship between eyespots and support for conservation actions towards B. anynana butterflies. Note. ****p< .00001, ***p≤ .001. Entries are unstandardized regression coefficients and n = 208.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4636354&req=5

pone.0141433.g003: Aesthetics as a mediator of the relationship between eyespots and butterfly conservation attitudes (Study 2).Schematic model depicting the mediating role of aesthetic preferences in: (a) the relationship between eyespots and concern for conservation of B. anynana butterflies, and (b) the relationship between eyespots and support for conservation actions towards B. anynana butterflies. Note. ****p< .00001, ***p≤ .001. Entries are unstandardized regression coefficients and n = 208.
Mentions: We explored the potential mediating role of aesthetic preferences in the relationship between eyespots and conservation attitudes towards butterflies, using two statistical approaches. First, we focused on the levels of concern for butterfly protection (DV2). Regression analyses demonstrated a statistical significance for both the a-path (eyespot effect on aesthetic preferences, B = .67, SE(B) = .16, t(206) = 4.22, p = .001, 95% CI, 0.34–0.95) and the b-path (eyespot effect on concern for butterfly protection, B = .30, SE(B) = .13, t(206) = 2.28, p = .027, 95% CI, 0.05–0.53). Based on this result, a mediation analysis was conducted (see [76] using 10,000 bootstrap replicates). As shown in Fig 3, data from the mediation analysis support the mediating role of aesthetic preferences in the relationship between eyespots and concern for butterfly protection (B = .30, SE(B) = .05, t(205) = 5.60, p< .00001, 95% CI, 0.19–0.40). After controlling for aesthetic preferences, the effect of eyespots on the levels of concern for butterfly protection became non-significant (B = .10, SE(B) = .13, t(205) = .77, p = .445, 95% CI, -0.15–0.35), which suggests that there is a full mediation of the effect.

Bottom Line: Four online experimental studies, involving 613 participants, demonstrated that eyespots significantly increased liking for a butterfly species.Furthermore, eyespots significantly increased positive attitudes towards conservation of a butterfly species (Studies 1, 2 and 4), whereas liking mediated the eyespot effect on conservation attitudes (Study 2).However, we also found some mixed evidence for an association between eyespots and actual conservation behavior (Studies 3 and 4).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Social and Organizational Psychology, Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, VU Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Research has shown that the mere presence of stimuli that resemble eyes is sufficient to attract attention, elicit aesthetic responses, and can even enhance prosocial behavior. However, it is less clear whether eye-like stimuli could also be used as a tool for nature conservation. Several animal species, including butterflies, develop eye-like markings that are known as eyespots. In the present research, we explored whether the mere display of eyespots on butterfly wings can enhance: (a) liking for a butterfly species, and (b) attitudes and behaviors towards conservation of a butterfly species. Four online experimental studies, involving 613 participants, demonstrated that eyespots significantly increased liking for a butterfly species. Furthermore, eyespots significantly increased positive attitudes towards conservation of a butterfly species (Studies 1, 2 and 4), whereas liking mediated the eyespot effect on conservation attitudes (Study 2). However, we also found some mixed evidence for an association between eyespots and actual conservation behavior (Studies 3 and 4). Overall, these findings suggest that eyespots may increase liking for an animal and sensitize humans to conservation. We discuss possible implications for biodiversity conservation and future research directions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus