'Sharks suffer from a bad reputation': Researchers look at peoples' perceptions of sharks in new study

June 30, 2023

Shark researchers in the first-of-its-kind study looked at peoples’ perceptions of sharks. Overall, people were more likely to support sharks if they believed the animals could think, feel, or reason. “Sharks suffer from a bad reputation,” said Gabriella Hancock, an assistant professor of psychology at Cal State Long Beach. The researchers found the more that people see sharks as thinking, intelligent creatures, people were more willing to support shark conservation by voting for their protection and contributing funds to charities. And the stronger peoples’ beliefs in sharks’ and stingrays’ ability to reason, people were more willing to get into the water with them.