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Literature Review

Best practices in developing empathy toward wildlife

March 1, 2015 | Public Programs, Exhibitions

This review of literature summarizes findings from current research on the development of empathy in childhood, and implications for developing zoo and aquarium programs that can strengthen children's sense of empathy. Key practices include: intentional framing of conversations about animals, modeling empathy - and providing opportunities for children to practice it, offering opportunities for direct interaction with animals, building children's understanding of the similarities and differences between the needs of humans and of other animals, and activating children's imagination to help them understand the perspective of another.


  • Seattle Aquarium
  • head shot from backyard
    Kathryn Owen Consulting
  • 1049213 649300765097416 1001389653 o
    Oregon Zoo
  • Citation

    Resource Type: Research Products
    Discipline: Ecology, forestry, and agriculture | Education and learning science | Life science | Social science and psychology
    Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
    Environment Type: Public Programs | Aquarium and Zoo Programs | Exhibitions | Aquarium and Zoo Exhibits

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