Most people both eat animals and care about animals. Research has begun to examine the psychological processes that allow people to negotiate this “meat paradox.” To understand the psychology of eating animals, we examine characteristics of the eaters (people), the eaten (animals), and the eating (the behavior). People who value masculinity, enjoy meat and do not see it as a moral issue, and find dominance and inequality acceptable are most likely to consume animals. Perceiving animals as highly dissimilar to humans and as lacking mental attributes, such as the capacity for pain, also supports meat-eating. In addition to these beliefs, values, and perceptions, the act of eating meat triggers psychological processes that regulate negative emotions associated with eating animals. We conclude by discussing the implications of this research for understanding the psychology of morality.
Source: Current Directions in Psychological Science (via APS News)
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