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Seeing images of baby animals reduces people's desire for eating meat

Overall, the effect of looking at an image of a baby animal was stronger for women compared to men.


PTI Last Updated at 06 Aug 2018, 13:08 IST
Seeing images of baby animals reduces people's desire for eating meat
  • Seeing images of baby animals reduces people's desire for eating meat, according to a study which found that the effect is much stronger for women than for men. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Seeing images of baby animals reduces people's desire for eating meat, according to a study which found that the effect is much stronger for women than for men.

Animal rights groups often use images of lambs and calves but there has been little evidence for their effectiveness in their campaigns.

Psychologists from Lancaster University and University College London in the UK exposed men and women to images of calves, baby "joey" kangaroos, piglets and lambs and tested whether this affected their desire for meat.

"We found that both men and women find baby farmed animals to be cute and vulnerable, and experience feelings of tenderness and warmth towards them," researchers said.

However, these positive feelings affect men and women differently, with men experiencing much less reduction in their appetite for meat as a result.

"Feeling tenderness towards a baby animal appears to be an oppositional force on the appetite for meat for many people, especially women," the researchers said.

This could be because women still often assume the role of caregivers - even today and even in contemporary western society, said Jared Piazza from Lancaster University.

"Our findings may reflect women's greater emotional attunement towards babies and, by extension, their tendency to empathize more with baby animals," said Piazza.

"Also, meat is associated with masculinity and images of tough men who consume meat for muscle building protein, along with prehistoric ideas of the male as a hunter.

"Women have a much more ambivalent attitude towards meat and their identity is not bound up with it in the same way," said Piazza.

He said the study implied that animal advocacy groups would be wise to focus on images of cute baby animals in their publicity, particularly when focused on young women.

The researchers first presented participants to an image of a cooked meat dish paired with an image from either a familiar animal (calf or bull) or exotic animal (baby or adult kangaroo).

The participants were told the meat came from the animal depicted.

"We found that men and women differed in how appetizing they considered the meat dishes when the meat was paired with a baby animal image, with women's appetite for meat much lower than men's appetite, regardless of whether the meat was from a familiar or exotic source," said Piazza.

A follow-up study asked people to rate their appetite for meat when presented with an image of either a calf, cow or no animal.

The meat dish became less appetizing after people had looked at images of the calf while there was little difference in terms of whether they had previously looked at images of the bull or no animal at all.

Overall, the effect of looking at an image of a baby animal was stronger for women compared to men.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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