Understanding human treatment towards nature provides insight into mitigating human induced environmental issues. This study determines whether individuals’ relationships with nature (NR), emotions experienced during evidence evaluation, and conservation concern drive evaluation of scientific arguments made about biodiversity conservation. Although we predicted that participants with strong NR would exhibit motivated reasoning, resulting in strong argument-evaluation skills as they evaluate an anti-conservation argument, we found that participants’ emotions during evidence evaluation were more predictive of their argument-evaluation skills. Further, participants with either low or high conservation concern demonstrated better argumentation skills. These findings suggest that while fostering strong relationships with nature may be important, of greater importance is to address emotions experienced when evaluating evidence. Furthermore, this study indicates a possibility that one’s reasoning about arguments made about biodiversity conservation may be motivated by how important one deems conservation to be.
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