Effects of the presence of an animal on anxiety and communication

Benjamin T. Nielsen, The College of Wooster


Effects of the presence of an animal on anxiety level and communication between individuals were investigated. Pairs of participants (N = 72) waited in a room together before beginning a cooperative task. During experimental conditions the room contained a guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) or a green iguana (Iguana iguana). The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was utilized to determine anxiety levels. Video recordings of the experiment were coded for communicatory behaviors. Results of analyses of variance showed that those in the animal conditions did not produce lowered anxiety scores. There was an effect of animal presence on 4 communicatory behaviors (p < .05), with control conditions producing the largest means. This data suggests that animals may at times inhibit interaction between individuals.