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The Sleeper Effect on Students' Attitudes Toward Animal Cognition
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by Jennifer M. Bonds-Raacke, Kendra L. Wright, Jessica M. Lewin, and Elizabeth M. Nelson* - Christian Brothers University
An unwillingness to acknowledge cognitive abilities in animals prevents some scientists from researching animal cognition. However, pioneering studies in this field have legitimized such research. One possible way to examine students' attitudes toward animal cognition is in the context of the sleeper effect. Eighty-five students at Christian Brothers University completed surveys containing scales to measure these attitudes. The participants completed the surveys 1 week later to test for the sleeper effect. Analyses compared the attitude scales between the 2 trials. Results indicated the absence of the sleeper effect and the tendency to attribute animal behavior to instincts rather than cognition. These findings may demonstrate that the unwillingness to acknowledge cognition in animals still exists, and the sleeper effect may require a longer period of time between trials to appear.