I am a DPhil student interested in how to influence public perceptions and engagement with biodiversity and conservation. I became interested in human-animal interactions whilst studying Psychology at the University of Plymouth, which led me to pursue the Anthrozoology programme at the University of Exeter. Following this, I have been fortunate enough to build strong relationships with other academics and become involved in conservation marketing projects. Specifically, I have explored how portrayals of species or environmental messages may influence public behaviour. Combined, these experiences created the opportunity to study this topic at the University of Oxford.
My DPhil research involves examining the impact of digital media types on audiences’ perceived connection to nature, as well as their support for conservation efforts. Such tools have been considered valuable for improving conservation support, but it is not yet fully understood how. Documentaries, for example, can bring threats facing biodiversity into the mainstream and improve attitudes to wildlife, but it is unclear how viewing them influences pro-environmental behaviour. Additionally, video games can provide immersive environments for learning about species protection, but insight into their value for this purpose is mostly speculative. Given the urgent need to reconnect humans with nature in an increasingly urbanised world, thorough evaluation of digital media types’ potential to inspire support for species protection is a promising territory for exploration.
My project is funded by EPSRC, and supervised by Dr. Diogo Veríssimo and Dr. Paul Johnson.