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Seventh Graders’ Direct Experience with, and Feelings toward, Amphibians and Some Other Nonhuman Animals

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This study investigated how seventh-grade students (11-12 years old) rate their fear of, and disgust toward, amphibians in comparison to some other nonhuman animal species. For the purpose of evaluating these variables, a questionnaire with open-ended and self-report questions was used. The study found that direct experience of animals significantly affects students’ self-reported fear and disgust ratings. Boys generally reported less fear and disgust toward animals than girls. With regard to amphibians, students expressed relatively high disgust, but low fear. There were no differences in disgust ratings between boys and girls. Also, a majority of students reported having no direct experience of amphibians, and their attitudes hovered between negative and neutral. Factor analysis placed amphibians in a category of disgust-relevant animals. The other two categories that emerged were interpreted as fear-relevant animals and companion animals. The study concluded that education should place greater importance on allowing students to experience a variety of different animal species directly in order to foster positive change in their feelings and attitudes toward them, and at the same time to build on their understanding of animals.

Affiliations: 1: University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty Slovenia, Email:


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