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Background music in documentaries an obstacle in shark conservation?

As per a study, ominous background music present in shark documentaries may affect viewers' attitude and could thus hamper people's willingness to participate in conservation efforts.


Background music in documentaries an obstacle in shark conservation?
(Image for representational purposes only)

New York: Environmental documentaries, especially those that feature animals and marine life are simply extraordinary.

The creatures are filmed within the comfort of their habitat, while a voice-over narrates and explains their nature and movements, as well as the reasons behind them.

One of the most documented marine species are sharks. Considered among the world's most fierce predators, there are numerous documentaries made on them.

However, if you have noticed music playing in the background while you're enjoying what you see, the music could possibly be making you less empathising with nature and its conservation and influencing your attitude.

As per a study, ominous background music present in shark documentaries may affect viewers' attitude and could thus hamper people's willingness to participate in conservation efforts.

Despite the ongoing need for shark conservation and management, prevailing negative sentiments marginalise these animals and legitimise permissive exploitation, the researchers said in a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Further, these negative attitudes arise from an instinctive, yet exaggerated fear, which is validated and reinforced by disproportionate and sensationalistic news coverage of shark ‘attacks' and by highlighting shark-on-human violence in popular movies and documentaries.

"Given that nature documentaries are often regarded as objective and authoritative sources of information, it is critical that documentary filmmakers and viewers are aware of how the soundtrack can affect the interpretation of the educational content," said lead author Andrew Nosal, scientist at the University of California, San Diego.

(With IANS inputs)

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