First and Last Name/s of Presenters

Brianna ChiaraluceFollow
Allison Courtemanche
Melissa Weaver

Mentor/s

Professor Deirdre Yeater

Location

University Commons

Start Day/Time

4-21-2017 1:00 PM

End Day/Time

4-21-2017 3:00 PM

Abstract

The American Zoological association claims that zoo and aquarium visitors will be inspired to make lifestyle changes and contribute to conservation efforts after seeing animals up close at their facilities. However, the evidence to support these claims is lacking. Research has indicated that the most important feature of a zoo or aquarium exhibit is its level of interaction or engagement with the visitor. The present study was designed to test how guest participation in environmental enrichment research influenced the behavior of aquarium guests. The goal was to observe guests while other visitors actively engaged in enrichment trials with the animals compared to control periods. Among the behaviors of interest were time spent at the exhibit, and whether it influenced other guest’s interest to also take part in the enrichment study. Observations were made at The Maritime Aquarium at the seal, otter, turtle, and meerkat exhibits. Results indicated that visitors lingered longer at an exhibit when enrichment researcher was being conducted. These findings suggest that observing research at an aquarium may increase the educational value of exhibits for visitors. This is a promising first step to better communicating the message of conservation to guests.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

College and Major available

Psychology

Keywords

Aquarium visitors, Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

Document Type

Poster

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Apr 21st, 1:00 PM Apr 21st, 3:00 PM

The Effect of Enrichment Research on Visitor Behavior

University Commons

The American Zoological association claims that zoo and aquarium visitors will be inspired to make lifestyle changes and contribute to conservation efforts after seeing animals up close at their facilities. However, the evidence to support these claims is lacking. Research has indicated that the most important feature of a zoo or aquarium exhibit is its level of interaction or engagement with the visitor. The present study was designed to test how guest participation in environmental enrichment research influenced the behavior of aquarium guests. The goal was to observe guests while other visitors actively engaged in enrichment trials with the animals compared to control periods. Among the behaviors of interest were time spent at the exhibit, and whether it influenced other guest’s interest to also take part in the enrichment study. Observations were made at The Maritime Aquarium at the seal, otter, turtle, and meerkat exhibits. Results indicated that visitors lingered longer at an exhibit when enrichment researcher was being conducted. These findings suggest that observing research at an aquarium may increase the educational value of exhibits for visitors. This is a promising first step to better communicating the message of conservation to guests.

 

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