Such experiments use conceptual and methodological criteria of similarity to humans unrelated to the ways in which people judge anthropomorphism in everyday life. Anthropomorphizing species as egomorphic
objects of empathetic insight is a typical outcome of personal interactions with non-humans, and is often associated with being a stakeholder in natural habitats, at least in Western cultures. Guiding and promoting such anthropomorphizations as tools for conservation is likely to be efficient and effective. We acknowledge that when dealing with cultural representations of non-human species, IBET762 anthropomorphic creep could be problematic. But under what conditions? The depiction of racoons KU55933 order that led Japanese households to adopt them as family pets which were later introduced into the wild was an example of anthropomorphic RG7112 molecular weight creep with unintended consequences. But is Smokey the Bear less effective as a representative of the danger posed to the forest ecosystem by fires because he is wearing a forest ranger’s uniform? Does Smokey the Bear’s uniform undermine bear conservation messages? This is not clear. We suggest that an appropriate way to anthropomorphize a species for conservation purposes is to (1) emphasize the characteristics the
species already possesses that people engage with during personal interactions that form the egomorphic, empathetic and charismatic bases for anthropomorphization, and (2) give the species just enough recognizably human-like characteristics to make it a credible and positive social actor, given
its intended role. Extrapolating from Spears et al.’s (1996) observations on the marketing uses of domestic and wild animals, species that often interact with the target audience can be strongly egomorphized, Prostatic acid phosphatase while species that the audience has limited personal experience with may particularly benefit from the addition of some human-like features. Establishing best practice for implementing these recommendations, while avoiding potential negative outcomes of anthropomorphization, requires further research, especially in social sciences and marketing. Acknowledgments MR-B is funded by a Post Doctoral Research Fellowship from FONDECYT (No. 3130336). LD is funded by the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in affiliation with Columbia University. DV is funded by the Doctoral Programme (SFRH/BD/60993/2009) of the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia. References Allen JS, Park J, Watt SL (1994) The chimpanzee tea party: anthropomorphism, orientalism, and colonialism. Vis Anthropol Rev 10(2):45–54CrossRef Antonacopoulos NMD, Pychyl TA (2008) An examination of the relations between social support, anthropomorphism and stress among dog owners.