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Positive YouTube videos help deflect blame from sharks

Positive YouTube videos help deflect blame from sharks

As the world becomes increasingly populated and our oceans more crowded with swimmers, the chances of a human-shark encounter go up. And while sharks get the short end of the stick in these situations — often being killed in retribution — new research suggests that watching positive shark videos on YouTube can help people feel more empathy towards the creatures, and less inclined to place blame on them when accidents happen.

The study, conducted by the University of Exeter and published in the journal PLOS One, found that people who watched videos with a positive narrative about sharks were more likely to positively attribute human-shark interactions to factors such as the behavior of the person involved, rather than the nature of the shark itself. In other words, they were more likely to empathize with the shark.

“This research shows the potential for using digital media to increase empathy for wild animals,” study author Coral Duede said in a press release. “It’s particularly important in cases where people might mistakenly attribute blame to an animal for an accidental encounter, as is often the case with sharks.”

The study asked over 1,000 participants to watch one of three different types of videos about sharks: a traditional information video with no narrative, a conservation-focused video with a positive narrative, or a video that focused on shark attacks with a negative narrative. The participants were then asked questions about their attitudes towards sharks, including whether they considered them dangerous, whether they blamed the shark or the human in human-shark interactions, and how much they empathized with the shark.

Overall, the study found that participants who watched the positive, narrative video were more likely to attribute human-shark interactions to the behavior of the person involved, rather than the nature of the shark. This was especially true for participants who reported feeling lower levels of empathy towards animals in general.

“This study provides evidence that narrative information videos could be used as a tool for eliciting more constructive responses to human-wildlife interactions,” Duede said.

So, the next time you’re feeling inclined to watch a shark video on YouTube, go ahead and opt for the feel-good, positive version. It just might help make the world a little bit more shark-friendly.

As the world’s population continues to grow, the number of people using the ocean for recreation also increases. This often puts swimmers, surfers, and SCUBA divers in close proximity to sharks. Although shark attacks are still relatively rare, when they do occur, they tend to receive a great deal of media attention. This sensationalized coverage often paints sharks as ruthless killers, which can result in a negative public opinion of these important apex predators.

However, a new study has found that positive YouTube videos featuring sharks can help deflect some of the blame placed on them after an attack. The research, which was conducted by the University of Queensland in Australia, found that people who watched a positive shark video were more likely to have a more favorable opinion of sharks and be less likely to assign blame to them after an attack.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Kylie Hall, said that the findings could be used to help change the way the public perceives sharks. “If we can get people to feel more positive about sharks, then hopefully that will translate into behavioral change,” she said. “We want people to understand that sharks are not the aggressors here, we are.”

With nearly 100 million views, the iconic “Baby Shark” song has become one of the most popular YouTube videos of all time. The global popularity of the video, which features adorable footage of shark embryos and young sharks, is a perfect example of how these misunderstood creatures can capture the public’s imagination in a positive way.

While it is important to remember that all animals, including sharks, can be dangerous if provoked, it is also important to try to see them from their perspective. As the top predators in the ocean, sharks play a vital role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems. We should all strive to learn more about these amazing creatures and do our part to help protect them.

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