Images of cute baby animals make for less pull in the flesh, is evident from British research. The effect is also much stronger in women than in men.
Animal rights organisations often use photographs of piglets and calves to meat consumption, but until now the effect not been studied scientifically. British psychologists at Lancaster University and University College London organized therefore, three different studies at 781 Americans.
In one of the studies showed the scientists the subjects a picture of a meat dish, in combination with an image of an animal such as a calf or adult cow. They were told that the meat came from the animal shown. The study revealed that people in their fancy meat quickly lose if they cute baby animals to see. When looking at adult animals, there was hardly any effect.
Women have a ambivalentere attitude towards meat, and their identity is less connected to
“We discovered that both men and women cute baby animals are vulnerable and cute, and feelings of tenderness and warmth to develop in respect of them”, says lead researcher Jared Piazza. “And those feelings seem to have a reverse effect on the meaning in meat with a lot of persons.’
Caring role of women
It was striking that the effect is much stronger played by the female respondents. “We saw that men and women the court otherwise assessed as the meat was accompanied with an image of a babydier,” says Piazza. “The appetite of women was much lower than that of men.’
According to Piazza, is that possibly because women still have a more caring role, also in the current western society. “Our findings may reflect their greater emotional attunement with babies which makes them even more sympathize with newborn animals.’
But also the male stereotypes can play a role. “Meat is often associated with masculinity, images of tough men who have a juicy steak to eat for muscle mass to grow, and prehistoric ideas of the man as hunter,” says Piazza. “Women have a much more ambivalent attitude towards meat, and their identity is less connected to it.’