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This study is a review of studies that evaluate the behavior, personality, and characteristics of zoo visitors. The author argues zoos are a good place for researchers to observe human-animal interactions and suggests ways to make this field of study more cohesive.
"Visitors are integral components of zoological parks and their importance has led
to a research area devoted to understanding the people–zoo relationship. This
paper reviews, and provides a point of entry into, the literature relating to visitor
research in zoos. The field emerged relatively recently and is diverse and interdisciplinary (it shares common ground with sociology, education, psychology, zoology, and other academic disciplines)."
"Several areas can be identified in the literature (audience analysis, circulation and orientation, exhibit evaluation, and
interactions with animals), and these areas have revealed visitors’ demographic
and behavioral characteristics, people’s behavioral responses to endogenous and
exogenous factors, the impact of exhibit design, and visitors’ movements around
zoos. Limitations of existing work include independence between research areas,
lack of international studies, limited generalizability of results, and the minority
status of the field. Therefore, suggestions for future work include integrating different research areas, more research from outside Europe and America, and
increased interaction within the visitor research community."
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