Shedding a Light on Animal Shelters: The Use of Light and Its Effect on the Adoption Process

Scientific Journal Articles

The current study aims to expand the research done in the field of environmental cues. The SOR-model (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974) is applied to an animal shelter. According to the SOR-model, stimuli can cause some sort of evaluation (Organism) leading to either an approach or avoidance response. By manipulating different cues (Stimuli) in an animal shelter, it is aimed at to influence emotions and perceptions that visitors have (Organism) and ultimately improve the adoption likelihood (Response). It is expected that an animal shelter that is (perceived as) more attractive will lead to a more positive experience and increase adoption likelihood. A first study was conducted to discover which stimuli should be used for the manipulation. Results indicated that visitors primarily focus on hygiene, spaciousness and lighting. The second study therefore manipulated the perceived hygiene and perceived spaciousness of a shelter through adjustments of the lighting intensity. The conclusions from the second study indicate that perceived hygiene and perceived spaciousness can successfully be manipulated through lighting. The perception visitors had of the animal shelter could be improved through lighting. Moreover, the perception of the actual animal could be improved through the manipulation. As opposed to these results, the actual adoption likelihood did not significantly improve. It can be concluded that environmental cues can successfully be used in an animal shelter. The adoption process was partly influenced by manipulation of lighting and hygiene and therefore it is recommended that animal shelters pay more attention to the possibilities of environmental cues.

Heemstra., & E.M. (2013). Shedding a light on animal shelters: The use of light and its effect on the adoption process. – University of Twente Student Theses.


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Topic(s): Environment, Environmental Management and Monitoring, Lighting, Shelter and Rescue