Influence of the Expert Effect on Cultural Models

Journal Article


We examined hunters’ perceptions of fauna to see if expert hunters and other hunters perceive wildlife abundance similarly. We used cultural consensus analysis (CCA) to assess the knowledge of 25 hunters in the Bolivian Amazon about the abundance of 38 animals. CCA indicated highly shared beliefs among hunters concerning wildlife abundance (average agreement = .62). However, expert hunters (as judged by their reported successful hunts of rare species, having hunted recently, and consuming more game in their diet) perceived more animals as abundant than did non-experts, although they all shared the same model. Since the expert hunters did not always agree on which species was more abundant, they had low cultural knowledge scores in CCA results. These experts may be unwilling to curtail hunting efforts on key species that they perceive to be abundant.

Citation: Van Holt. T., Bernard, H.R., Weller, S. Townsend, W., and P. Cronkleton. 2016. Influence of the Expert Effect on Cultural Models. Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management 21(2)-169-179. 10.1080/10871209.2015.1110736

Keywords: Cultural consensus, expertise, hunting, traditional ecological knowledge