Cute chimps in media distorts public perception regarding endangered status & suitability as pets
Posted on 24/02/2012
Researchers from Duke University have conducted an experiment framed as a marketing study to test if the use of chimpanzees in entertainment media (e.g. commercials, movies) influences how the public perceive their conservation status and suitability as pets.
Interestingly, the study results showed strong support for the distortion hypothesis, that depicting chimpanzees in unnatural behaviors interacting with humans or anthropomorphic settings such as an office leads the public to erroneously believe that chimpanzees are not endangered and to further encourage beliefs that they make good pets.
Additionally, participants in the study thought the chimpanzees used in commercials were adults when in fact they were infants or juvenile animals. This could further skew public perception that chimpanzees are small and docile animals easily suited to a household environment. Eurogroup welcomes and supports the conclusions reached by researchers, showing that based on public preferences for other marketing techniques and the distorted perception documented regarding conservation status and suitability as pets that chimpanzees should no longer be used for entertainment or as marketing tool.