Document Type


Publication details

Postprint of: Weiler, B & Smith, L 2009, 'Does more interpretation lead to greater outcomes? an assessment of the impacts of multiple layers of interpretation in a zoo context', Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 91-105.

The publisher's version of this article is available at

Peer Reviewed



This study investigates the relationship between the level of exposure to interpretive media and the cognition, affect and behaviour of zoo visitors, i.e. what they report knowing, feeling and doing following their interpretive experience at the zoo. Visitors were surveyed at the exit to a particular zoo experience, a recently opened lion exhibit that uses an array of static and face-to-face interpretive media to convey messages about the difficulties faced by lions, particularly when they come into contact with humans. A validated self-report instrument consisting of 29 items was used to capture ten cognitive, affective and behavioural indicators or outcomes of the interpretation. The 288 respondents experienced between one and four different interpretive media, and the results on every one of the ten indicators reveal that visitors’ reported cognitive, affective and behavioural outcomes were greater, many with statistical significance, as the number of interpretive media increased. The findings confirm and extend previous research which found that the cognitive impact of interpretation was not only greater with multiple layers of interpretation but also suggested the need for further research with other types of interpretive media on other visitors and in a wider range of sustainable tourism contexts.

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