IUCN Red List species have names that evoke human emotions

The first published work from my PhD research is now out! Check out a brief summary of the paper below on the Please keep to the path blog.

Please keep to the path

Gregg, E. A., Bekessy, S. A., Martin, J. K., Garrard, G. E. Many IUCN red list species have names that evoke negative emotions.Human Dimensions of Wildlife. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10871209.2020.1753132

In a nutshell: Many of the frequently used words in animal common names have high or low sentiment, and some are also associated with human emotions such as anger, fear, disgust and joy. These words may be good targets for strategic name changes to change perceptions and improve engagement with threatened species.

Animal species common names are a key communication tool between researchers, decision-makers and the public. Some of the words used in these common names are unappealing (e.g., rough-skinned horned toad), misleading (e.g., lesser bird of paradise) or even unmemorable (e.g., little grassbird). In this recent paper the authors explore the sentiment of common names and suggest that changing some of these names could be an effective, and inexpensive, way to improve…

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