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What news from the psychologists? On the psychology of meat consumption Stijn Bruers ‘Echte meisjes in de jungle’ Cognitive dissonance • Example: eating tomatoes is immoral? • Cognitive dissonance: behavior <> values Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. New York, NY: Harper & Row. • Changes in moral attitudes: the cheating experiment Mills, J. (1958). Changes in moral attitudes following temptation. Journal of Personality, 26(4), 517-531. • The meat paradox Bastian B., Loughnan S., Haslam N. & Radke H. (2012). Don't Mind Meat? The Denial of Mind to Animals Used for Human Consumption. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin vol. 38 no. 2 p.247-256. Loughnan S., Haslam N. & Bastian B. (2010). The role of meat consumption in the denial of moral status and mind to meat animals. Appetite 55 p.156–159. Bratanova B. Loughnan S. & Bastian B. (2011). The effect of categorization as food on the perceived moral standing of animals. Appetite 57 p.193–196 Cognitive dissonance • Human uniqueness Bilewicz M., Imhoff R. & Drogosz M. (2010). The humanity of what we eat: Conceptions of human uniqueness among vegetarians and omnivores. European Journal of Social Psychology. • Moral disengagement – – – – – Shifting/spreading responsibility Rationalizations Eufemisms Denying /minimizing harmful consequences Dehumanizing victims Bandura, A., Barbaranelli, C., Caprara, G.V. & Pastorelli, C. (1996). Mechanisms of Moral Disengagement in the Exercise of Moral Agency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 71(2), p.364-374 Cognitive dissonance • Carnistic numbing 1) People want to have a positive self-image, and consistency between values and behavior is part of this. 2) A positive self-image does not allow for unnecessary violence against innocent individuals. 3) Meat production is a kind of unnecessary violence. 4) Meat consumption is a form of complicit violence (second-hand violence, in which one lets others do the dirty work). 5) Therefore meat consumption causes cognitive moral dissonance (conflict between values and behavior) and is a threat to selfesteem. 6) Psychic numbing is a response to a threat to a positive selfimage. 7) Carnistic numbing is used in order to reduce such dissonance. Melanie Joy (2002). Psychic numbing and meat consumption: the psychology of carnism. Dissertation, San Fransisco. Posttraumatic stress • Slaughterhous workers: Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress (PITS) MacNair, R. (2002) Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. Dillard, J. (2008) A Slaughterhouse Nightmare: Psychological Harm Suffered by Slaughterhouse Employees and the Possibility of Redress through Legal Reform, Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy 15. Situationism • Asch’s conformity experiments (group pressure) Asch, S. E. (1956). Studies of independence and conformity: A minority of one against a unanimous majority. Psychological Monographs,70 (416). • Bystander effect Latané, B., & Darley, J.M. (1970). The unresponsive bystander: Why doesn’t he help? Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. • Zimbardo’s prisoners experiment Zimbardo, P. G. (2004). A Situationist Perspective on the Psychology of Evil: Understanding How Good People Are Transformed Into Perpetrators. In A. G. Miller (Ed). The Social psychology of Good and Evil, New York, Guilford Press. • Milgram’s obedience experiments Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority: An Experimental View. HarperCollins. Situationism 1. A reasonable motive (at first sight) : meat is nutritious, tradition ... 2. Eating animal products is not all or nothing: consumption can be increased in small steps without paying attention to it. 3. Victims (the animals) are not visible, advertisements on TV give a false impression of the livestock industry. 4. Easy to shift the responsibility to others, the butchers and fishermen. 5. Influenced by people in authority positions: parents, teachers, celebrities and politicians. 6. Others act as if nothing is wrong. 7. Others with whom we feel a connection (family, friends and colleagues) stay calm and continue eating meat. Lessenpakket vlees kleuters Ik zal je wat vertellen: ik eet graag gehaktballetjes, salami op mijn boterham, een worstje in de pan, gebakken door mam, een biefstuk of saté, vlees vind ik best oké! Vegaphobia • Do-gooder derogation and anticipated reproach Monin, B., Sawyer, P.J., & Marquez, M.J. (2008). The rejection of moral rebels: Resenting those who do the right thing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(1), p.76-93. Minson, J.A. & Monin, B. (2012) Do-Gooder Derogation. Disparaging Morally Motivated Minorities to Defuse Anticipated Reproach, Social Psychological and Personality Science vol. 3(2) p.200-207 • Vegaphobia Cole, M. & K. Morgan (2011), Vegaphobia: derogatory discourses of veganism and the reproduction of speciesism in UK national newspapers. The British Journal of Sociology, 62(1): 134-153. Sweeping our values off the table? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Meat from dogs disgusting Kalfje Willy Carrot Freddy? Reactions of tomato eater versus meat eater Inconsistency in ascribing mental abilities of animals Panic when killing chicken with own hands Rather smashing robot than chicken PITS of slaughterhouse workers Hunting rituals instead of fruit picking rituals (hunters whispering into ear of animal) Children spontaneously want to pet pigs and dogs instead of killing them Emotional bond with animal but not with cauliflower Parents want to shield their children from horrific images of livestock industry Psychological repression mechanisms (camouflage, detachment, dissociation, rationalization, euphemisms, shifting responsibility ...) 14. Cultures have culinary taboos about meat but not about vegetables. 15. Do-gooder derogation 16. “You just want us to feel guilty.” Interspecies model of prejudice • Dehumanization, bestialization Bandura, A., Underwood, B., & Fromson, M.E. (1975). Disinhibition of aggression through diffusion of responsibility and dehumanization of victims. Journal of Research in Personality, 9, 253–269. • Speciesism > racism Costello, K., & Hodson, G. (2010). Exploring the roots of dehumanization: The role of animal-human similarity in promoting immigrant humanization. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 13, 3-22. Costello, K., & Hodson, G. (2012). Explaining dehumanization among children: An interspecies model of prejudice. British Journal of Social Psychology. Terror management theory • Consciousness of own mortality (fear of death) triggers speciesism Goldenberg J.L., Pyszczynski T., Greenberg J., Solomon S., Kluck B., Cornwell R. (2001). I am not an animal: mortality salience, disgust, and the denial of human creatureliness. Journal of Experimental Psychology General. 130(3):427-35. Goldenberg, J. L., Heflick, N., Vaes, J., Motyl, M., & Greenberg, J. (2009). Of mice and men, and objectified women: A terror management account of infrahumanization. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 12, 763–776.