Clemson University senior, Nathan Weaver, recently conducted research on the declining population of Eastern Box Turtles and how human behavior is impacting that decline. He was looking particularly at turtles crossing the road.
What his experiment found, however, is a sad fact that isn’t surprising to too many of us who love and care about turtles and tortoises. The number of people INTENTIONALLY running over turtles was incredibly high. Using plastic turtles placed in the road, Weaver observed 7 drivers swerve and deliberately run over the fake turtle (not knowing it was fake).
Psychology professors commenting on the outcome of this experiment cite sport, and a subconscious human need to dominate animals.
The psychology researcher in me isn’t surprised, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make me sad. I think back to the incident earlier this year with Blake Shelton and the “joke” about deliberately running over a turtle he posted on twitter. THIS is exactly why his “joke” is harmful *beyond* an being offensive. It is not about political correctness. It is about human behavior.
If humans act on a subconscious desire to dominate animals then humans are sure as hell susceptible to group think and celebrity influence. Thats no joke, you don’t need to be a psych prof to know that.