Using Social Psychology in Videos to Acquaint Environmentally Apathetical People with Little Known Fishes
Desert fishes are cryptic, and infrequently seen by the public. Apathy of the public toward these fishes and their ecosystems hinders their conservation. Fortunately, advanced technological means to acquaint the public with these species is becoming increasingly common. We created low-cost educational videography presentations featuring the unique and often rare desert fishes of Nevada and Death Valley. Using these videos, we tested the inclusion of various widely recognized social psychology principles in these videos to test their effectiveness at increasing presentation effectiveness when displayed to an audience that was apathetic towards the environment. Social psychology additions were screened by panels of university faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and human subjects’ experts to ensure they were ethical and truthful, not altering the accuracy of the information presented. We used text-only treatments surveyed through Qualtrics in the first round of treatment videos; enhanced text and different background image treatments surveyed through Qualtrics in the second round of treatment videos and enhanced text and different background image treatment videos surveyed through Mturk in the third round of treatment videos. In all three rounds of testing, regardless of control/treatment group, viewers' knowledge significantly improved post-viewing. However, no significant differences in change in knowledge scores were found among groups in Round 1, 2, or 3. In addition, post-viewing New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) score, a measure of environmental attitude, was significantly higher than the pretest score, regardless of group. Significant differences in change in NEP scores among groups were only found in Round 3 with the reciprocity group scores significantly higher than similarity and anthropomorphic group scores. These results indicate that all types of underwater videos, no matter the treatment type, have a positive effect on previously apathetic viewers’ knowledge and ecological attitude. In addition, adding specific social psychology elements in videos had a subtle, but positive effect on viewers’ learning outcome and ecological attitude. This research was presented in a thesis chapter completed in December 2018, and a publication is underway.