Exposure as an Intervention to Address Human Fear of Bears

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

People who live in brown bear areas often fear encounters with these animals. This article evaluated the potential effect of exposure to bears and their habitats on human fear of brown bears using the modeling of appropriate behavior when close to bears. In a within-subject design, 25 persons who reported to be fearful of brown bears participated in a guided walk approaching approximately 50 m of a brown bear in its daybed and in a guided forest walk in bear habitat. The presentation order was reversed for half of the group. The participants reported significantly reduced feelings of fear after the bear walk, but not after the forest walk. There were no corresponding significant effects for the experimental measures of fear-related responses. The results partially support the notion that exposure to the object of fear, such as a bear habitat with presence of a bear, might be a feasible intervention to reduce peoples’ feeling of fear, but the design of the intervention must be developed further before it can be used in practice.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Mid Sweden University
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology
  • Fish and Wildlife Management

Keywords

  • Brown bear, exposure, fear, intervention, multidisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-327
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Dimensions of Wildlife
Volume21
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 4
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes