Article

Specificity and the Cognitive Hierarchy: Value Orientations and the Acceptability of Urban Wildlife Management Actions

Society and Natural Resources (Impact Factor: 1.09). 06/2006; 19(6):515-530. DOI: 10.1080/08941920600663912

ABSTRACT This article tests theory suggesting cognitions at the same level of specificity have stronger associations than those at different levels. Using data from a survey of Anchorage, AK, residents (n = 971, response rate = 59%), we explored relationships between general wildlife value orientations and (1) the general acceptability of hunting urban wildlife populations, and (2) specific wildlife management actions (e.g., the acceptability of destroying a bear or moose after specific conflict situations). Consistent with previous research, patterns of basic wildlife beliefs aligned along two distinct value orientations (protection–use and wildlife appreciation) that differentially predicted management action acceptability. As hypothesized, general wildlife value orientations had more influence on the acceptability of hunting to reduce wildlife populations than destroying an animal involved in specific conflict situations. Findings suggested ways to improve measurement, ways to develop broader models that include values-related variables, and the importance of values-level information when addressing urban wildlife conflicts.

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