Utah Rock Art Research Association

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  • URARA Presentation - The Effect of Moral and Threat Appeals on Reducing Depreciative Behavior at Rock Art Sites

URARA Presentation - The Effect of Moral and Threat Appeals on Reducing Depreciative Behavior at Rock Art Sites

  • 21 Jul 2022
  • 7:00 PM
  • Zoom online presentation


Registration is closed

Matthew Podolinsky, Assistant Coordinator for the Utah Cultural Site Stewardship program with SHPO

Depreciative behaviors are unintentional actions by visitors that damage the resource or impact the experiences of others. Rock art in particular is highly susceptible to these types of behaviors and the damage may be permanent. As visitation to cultural sites, including rock art locations, increases, the opportunity for depreciative behavior likewise increases. While there is extensive research on moral- and threat-appeal messaging around natural resources, there has been surprisingly little research on these types of approaches around cultural resources. This study designed, installed, and assessed the effectiveness of a moral-appeal message using the Norm Activation Theory of Prosocial Behavior, the current Bureau of Land Management (BLM) threat-appeal message, and a no-message control at reducing depreciative behaviors at rock art sites. This research resulted in a significant decrease in depreciative behavior, specifically touching, when the moral-appeal message was installed. Surprisingly, this study found that the BLM threat-appeal message led to an increase in depreciative behaviors as compared to no-message control suggesting that current land management agencies should reevaluate their indirect management approach to protect remote rock art sites. This study strongly recommends replacing the current signs with moral-appeal messaging and investing in future research to preserve rock art.

PLEASE NOTE: Although our current Zoom license limits us to 100 participants, we are not limiting the number of registrations. This means that the live presentation will be closed once the first 100 participants have logged on. Our experience has been that 20% to 30% of registrants don't attend the event, so even if we exceed 100 registrations, it is unlikely that we will exceed 100 participants. If you are unable to log in because we've reached our maximum number of participants, you will still be able to watch the recorded video once it is posted on the URARA Member's web page a day or two after the live presentation.

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