Changing minds through musical comedy

Can a couple of fictional hunters in American Folklore Theatre's "Guys & Does" change public perceptions about deer hunting?

Yes, according to Fred "Doc" Heide, who when not performing in Door County teaches at the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco.

Heide and his colleagues interviewed 171 audience members before and after the musical comedy and discovered that, after the show, people's attitudes toward deer hunting were more favorable.

"This is based on something called social cognitive learning theory," Heide said in a news release. "It's been used in TV and radio shows around the world to promote literacy and good health behavior. But nobody has ever studied it in a musical comedy."

Heide's findings were published in February by the American Psychological Association.