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Sharks get bad rap when viewed with ominous background music

Researchers demonstrate that background music affects viewers' attitudes toward sharks

Date:
August 4, 2016
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
In a new study, researchers found that the background music in shark documentaries affects viewers' perceptions of sharks. The researchers suggest that ominous background music could hinder shark conservation efforts.
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Sharks (stock image).
Credit: © cbpix / Fotolia

In a new study, researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego found that the background music in shark documentaries affects viewers' perceptions of sharks. The researchers suggest that ominous background music could hinder shark conservation efforts.

Scripps scientist Andrew Nosal and a colleague at Harvard University recruited over 2,000 online participants to share their attitudes toward sharks after watching a 60-second video clip of sharks swimming. They compared the results of the participants who watched the clip set to ominous background music to those watching the same video clip set to uplifting background music, or silence.

Participants who viewed the video with ominous background music rated sharks more negatively than those who viewed the clip with uplifting music or no music.

"Given that nature documentaries are often regarded as objective and authoritative sources of information, it is critical that documentary filmmakers and viewers are aware of how the soundtrack can affect the interpretation of the educational content," said Nosal, the lead author of the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

A researcher from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego was a coauthor of the study.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew P. Nosal, Elizabeth A. Keenan, Philip A. Hastings, Ayelet Gneezy. The Effect of Background Music in Shark Documentaries on Viewers' Perceptions of Sharks. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (8): e0159279 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159279

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Sharks get bad rap when viewed with ominous background music: Researchers demonstrate that background music affects viewers' attitudes toward sharks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160804171639.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2016, August 4). Sharks get bad rap when viewed with ominous background music: Researchers demonstrate that background music affects viewers' attitudes toward sharks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160804171639.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Sharks get bad rap when viewed with ominous background music: Researchers demonstrate that background music affects viewers' attitudes toward sharks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160804171639.htm (accessed May 24, 2017).

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