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Johansson, M., Flykt, A., Frank, J. & Støen, O.-G. (2019). Controlled exposure reduces fear of brown bears. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 24(4), 363-379
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Controlled exposure reduces fear of brown bears
2019 (English)In: Human Dimensions of Wildlife, ISSN 1087-1209, E-ISSN 1533-158X, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 363-379Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fear of large carnivores such as brown bears may restrict people’s outdoor activities regardless of experts’ estimated risk of attack. This research study empirically examined three exposure interventions in the form of guided walks intended to give people living in brown bear areas tools for coping with their fear. All interventions significantly reduced fear, decreased people’s perceived vulnerability, and increased their social trust in wildlife management authorities. The walk including an encounter with a radio-collared bear in a wild bear habitat resulted in the largest reduction in fear, followed by the walk in the wild bear habitat only and then the walk in a park with captive bears. The wild bear habitat walk was the intervention best suited for further development as it may be used in any area where bears occur and without affecting animal welfare. 

Keywords
exposure, Fear, interventions, large carnivores
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-36670 (URN)10.1080/10871209.2019.1616238 (DOI)000474334700005 ()2-s2.0-85066273217 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-07-09 Created: 2019-07-09 Last updated: 2019-08-09Bibliographically approved
Johansson, M., Frank, J., Støen, O.-G. & Flykt, A. (2017). An Evaluation of Information Meetings as a Tool for Addressing Fear of Large Carnivores. Society & Natural Resources, 30(3), 281-298
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Evaluation of Information Meetings as a Tool for Addressing Fear of Large Carnivores
2017 (English)In: Society & Natural Resources, ISSN 0894-1920, E-ISSN 1521-0723, Vol. 30, no 3, p. 281-298Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Managing authorities in Scandinavia arrange public information meetings when members of the public express fear because wolves or brown bears approach human settlements. This study aimed to increase the understanding of the potential effect of information meetings on self-reported fear of wolves and brown bears. In total, 198 participants completed questionnaires before and after the information meetings. Nine follow-up interviews were held 1 year later. The quantitative analyses revealed that participants who found the information credible reported a significant increase in social trust and a decrease in vulnerability and fear. The qualitative analyses pointed to the importance of information content and meta-communication, for example, nonverbal cues. It is proposed that, among participants who find the information credible, information meetings may change the appraisal of wolves and brown bears, and therefore they might prove useful as an intervention to address fear of these animals.

Keywords
Brown bears, fear, information, interventions, wolves
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29716 (URN)10.1080/08941920.2016.1239290 (DOI)000394649400002 ()2-s2.0-84994565926 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-12-21 Created: 2016-12-21 Last updated: 2017-07-04Bibliographically approved
Flykt, A., Bänziger, T. & Lindeberg, S. (2017). Intensity of vocal responses to spider and snake pictures in fearful individuals. Australian journal of psychology, 69(3), 184-191
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Intensity of vocal responses to spider and snake pictures in fearful individuals
2017 (English)In: Australian journal of psychology, ISSN 0004-9530, E-ISSN 1742-9536, Vol. 69, no 3, p. 184-191Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective

Strong bodily responses have repeatedly been shown in participants fearful of spiders and snakes when they see pictures of the feared animal. In this study, we investigate if these fear responses affect voice intensity, require awareness of the pictorial stimuli, and whether the responses run their course once initiated.

Method

Animal fearful participants responded to arrowhead-shaped probes superimposed on animal pictures (snake, spider, or rabbit), presented either backwardly masked or with no masking. Their task was to say ‘up’ or ‘down’ as quickly as possible depending on the orientation of the arrowhead. Arrowhead probes were presented at two different stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA), 261 or 561 ms after picture onset. In addition to vocal responses, electrocardiogram, and skin conductance (SC) were recorded.

Results

No fear-specific effects emerged to masked stimuli, thereby providing no support for the notion that fear responses can be triggered by stimuli presented outside awareness. For the unmasked pictures, voice intensity was stronger and SC response amplitude was larger to probes superimposed on the feared animal than other animals, at both SOAs. Heart rate changes were greater during exposure to feared animals when probed at 561 ms, but not at 261 ms, which indicates that a fear response can change its course after initiation.

ConclusionExposure to pictures of the feared animal increased voice intensity. No support was found for responses without awareness. Observed effects on heart rate may be due to change in parasympathetic activation during fear response.

Keywords
ECG, fear, skin conductance, snake, spider, voice intensity
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29717 (URN)10.1111/ajpy.12137 (DOI)000409559500005 ()2-s2.0-84979774590 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-12-21 Created: 2016-12-21 Last updated: 2018-02-27Bibliographically approved
Johansson, M., Støen, O.-G. -. & Flykt, A. (2016). Exposure as an Intervention to Address Human Fear of Bears. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 21(4), 311-327
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exposure as an Intervention to Address Human Fear of Bears
2016 (English)In: Human Dimensions of Wildlife, ISSN 1087-1209, E-ISSN 1533-158X, Vol. 21, no 4, p. 311-327Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Keywords
Brown bear, exposure, fear, intervention, multidisciplinary
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29604 (URN)10.1080/10871209.2016.1152419 (DOI)000422688800004 ()2-s2.0-84961213634 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-12-15 Created: 2016-12-15 Last updated: 2018-08-24Bibliographically approved
Johansson, M., Ferreira, I. A., Støen, O.-G., Frank, J. & Flykt, A. (2016). Targeting human fear of large carnivores — Many ideas but few known effects. Biological Conservation, 201, 261-269
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Targeting human fear of large carnivores — Many ideas but few known effects
Show others...
2016 (English)In: Biological Conservation, ISSN 0006-3207, E-ISSN 1873-2917, Vol. 201, p. 261-269Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper reviews the peer-reviewed scientific literature on interventions aimed to reduce human fear of large carnivores in human-large carnivore conflicts. Based on psychological theories, a wide definition of fear was adopted, including fear as an emotion, as a perception and as an attitude. Four major categories of interventions were identified: information and education, exposure to animal and habitat, collaboration and participation, and financial incentives. Each of these categories may have a potential to reduce fear responses. The scientific literature on the effect of interventions addressing human fear of large carnivores is scarce and partly contradictory, which makes it difficult for wildlife managers to rely on current research when designing appropriate interventions.

Keywords
Human fear, Intervention, Large carnivores, Literature review
National Category
Psychology Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-28931 (URN)10.1016/j.biocon.2016.07.010 (DOI)000384782800029 ()2-s2.0-84979076067 (Scopus ID)
Note

CODEN: BICOB

Available from: 2016-09-27 Created: 2016-09-27 Last updated: 2017-11-21Bibliographically approved
Frank, J., Johansson, M. & Flykt, A. (2015). Public attitude towards the implementation of management actions aimed at reducing human fear of brown bears and wolves. Wildlife Biology, 21(3), 122-130
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Public attitude towards the implementation of management actions aimed at reducing human fear of brown bears and wolves
2015 (English)In: Wildlife Biology, ISSN 0909-6396, E-ISSN 1903-220X, Vol. 21, no 3, p. 122-130Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research on human fear of large carnivores has mainly been based on self-reports in which individual survey items and the objects of fear are measured, so whether a person fears attacks on humans or livestock and pets has not been identified. The objectives of this study were to differentiate between the objects of fear as well as capturing attitudes towards implementation of management actions and the potential for conflict index (PCI). These concern the implementation of a limited number of management actions currently used or discussed in Sweden that are aimed at reducing human fear of brown bears/wolves. 391 persons living in areas with either brown bear (n = 198) or wolf (n = 193) in Sweden responded to a questionnaire. The degree of self-reported fear varied between residents in brown bear areas and residents in wolf areas. The fear of attacks on livestock and pets was stronger than fear of attacks on humans in both brown bear and wolf areas. In brown bear areas, fear was strongest for livestock, while in wolf areas fear was strongest for pets. The fear of attacks on livestock and pets was significantly stronger in wolf areas, while the fear of attacks on humans was strongest in brown bear areas. In both brown bear and wolf areas, there was little acceptance of implementation of management actions that would allow people to carry pepper spray or a gun outdoors. Management actions aimed at setting a population cap for bear/wolf populations, information on how to act when encountering a bear/wolf, and providing information on local presence of bear/wolf had relatively high acceptability. This was especially true for respondents expressing high fear of attacks on humans.

National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29874 (URN)10.2981/wlb.13116 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-01-16 Created: 2017-01-16 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
Flykt, A., Johansson, M., Karlsson, J. & Lipp, O. V. (2013). Fear of Wolves and Bears: Physiological Responses and Negative Associations in a Swedish Sample. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 18(6), 416-434
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fear of Wolves and Bears: Physiological Responses and Negative Associations in a Swedish Sample
2013 (English)In: Human Dimensions of Wildlife, ISSN 1087-1209, E-ISSN 1533-158X, Vol. 18, no 6, p. 416-434Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Human fear is important in wildlife management, but self-reported fear provides only partial information about fear reactions. Thus, eye movements, skin conductance, and changes in heart rate were assessed during picture viewing, visual search, and implicit evaluation tasks. Pictures of bears, wolves, moose, and hares were presented to participants who self-reported as fearful of bears (n = 8), fearful of bears and wolves (n = 15), or not fearful of bears or wolves (n = 14). The feared animal was expected to elicit strong physiological responses, be dwelled upon, and be associated with negative words. Independent of fearfulness, bear pictures elicited the strongest physiological responses, and wolf pictures showed the strongest negative associations. The bear-fearful group showed stronger physiological responses to bears. The bear- and wolf-fearful group showed more difficulty in associating bears with good words. Presence of a feared animal in the search task, resulted in prolonged response time.

Keywords
bear, wolf, fear, visual search, implicit association test, skin conductance, heart rate, reaction times
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29875 (URN)10.1080/10871209.2013.810314 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-01-16 Created: 2017-01-16 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
Bjärtå, A., Flykt, A. & Sundin, Ö. (2013). The effect of using different distractor sets in visual search with spiders and snakes on spider-sensitive and non-fearful participants.. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 72(4), 171-179
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The effect of using different distractor sets in visual search with spiders and snakes on spider-sensitive and non-fearful participants.
2013 (English)In: Swiss Journal of Psychology, ISSN 1421-0185, E-ISSN 1662-0879, Vol. 72, no 4, p. 171-179Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In two visual search experiments, the impact of distractor sets on fear relevant stimuli was investigated.  A search set with spiders, snakes, flowers, and mushrooms was compared to a search set with spiders, snakes, rabbits, and turtles. Speeded responses to spider and snake targets were found when flowers and mushrooms served as distractors, but no such effect occurred with rabbit and turtle distractors. In Experiment 2, spider sensitive individuals were compared to non-fearful individuals. Spider sensitive individuals responded faster to spider targets than did non-fearful individuals, but only in the set with flowers and mushrooms.  When using rabbit and turtle distractors, spider sensitive individuals did not show any speeded responses to their feared animal. These results indicate that behavioural expressions of the visual search task depends not only on the individual’s relationship to the stimuli included in a search set, but also on the context in which feared or fear relevant objects are presented.

Keywords
Visual search, Spider sensitive participants, Distractor dependency, fear relevance
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-19008 (URN)10.1024/1421-0185/a000111 (DOI)000324375400001 ()2-s2.0-84885063782 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2013-05-29 Created: 2013-05-29 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
Johansson, M., Karlsson, J., Pedersen, E. & Flykt, A. (2012). Factors Governing Human Fear of Brown Bear and Wolf. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 17(1), 58-74
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Factors Governing Human Fear of Brown Bear and Wolf
2012 (English)In: Human Dimensions of Wildlife, ISSN 1087-1209, E-ISSN 1533-158X, Vol. 17, no 1, p. 58-74Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyzes people's subjectively experienced fear in areas with presence of brown bear or wolf. Departing from the Human-Environment Interaction Model (Küller, 1991Küller, R. 1991. “Environmental assessment f.rom a neuropsychological perspective”. In Environment, cognition, and action, Edited by: ärling, T. G and Evans, G. W. 78–95. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.), a hypothetical model of environmental and individual antecedents of fear was tested using structural equation modeling of survey data (n = 391). In the model of fear of brown bear, the main predictor was the appraisal of the species as dangerous/uncontrollable and unpredictable. In the model of fear of wolf, the greater experience with the species and a stronger appraisal of wolf as dangerous, uncontrollable, and unpredictable led to low social trust and this, together with the appraisal of wolf as dangerous/uncontrollable and unpredictable, increased the likelihood of fear. Efforts to reduce human fear of wolves should focus on building trust between the public and authorities, whereas efforts to reduce fear of brown bear should focus on the individual's appraisal of the species.

Keywords
subjectively experienced fear, brown bear, wolf, cognitive vulnerability model, social trust, structural equation modeling
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29877 (URN)10.1080/10871209.2012.619001 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-01-16 Created: 2017-01-16 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
Flykt, A., Lindeberg, S. & Derakshan, N. (2012). Fear makes you stronger: Responding to feared animal targets in visual search. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 74(7), 1437-1445
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fear makes you stronger: Responding to feared animal targets in visual search
2012 (English)In: Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, ISSN 1943-3921, E-ISSN 1943-393X, Vol. 74, no 7, p. 1437-1445Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To investigate whether fear affects the strength with which responses are made, 12 animal-fearful individuals (five snake fearful and seven spider fearful) were instructed to decide as quickly as possible whether an animal target from a deviant category was present in a 3 × 4 item (animal) search array. The animal categories were snakes, spiders, and cats. Response force was measured, in newtons. The results showed that the strength of the response was greater when the feared animal served as the target than when it served as the distractors. This finding was corroborated by evoked heart rate changes to the stimuli. Our findings strengthen the argument that focused attention on a single, feared animal can lead to increases in manual force.

Keywords
Motor control, Visual search, Selective attention
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29876 (URN)10.3758/s13414-012-0336-6 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-01-16 Created: 2017-01-16 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
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Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-9554-4478

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