Cited in Yahoo Health – There Are 4 Kinds of Meat-Eaters: Which One Are You?

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 2.38.54 PMRecent research out of the University of Lancaster in the UK has added a psychological twist to the eating meat controversy, documenting that meat eaters ascribe to one of four defensive styles in justifying their choice. I was pleased to help out on this great post by Korin Miller that dives into the defenses that may be involved in meat eating. In interesting element of the study is the foundational assumption by the authors that all explanations for meat eating involve rationalizations, and are therefore psychological defenses, but this is inconsistent with mainstream psychological theory which holds that defenses are triggered by conflict, even if unconscious. It is possible that some meat eaters feel no conflict, as many of the commenters purport. To assume that all meat eaters are conflicted may be inaccurate.

But why do we need to justify eating meat in the first place? It’s because thinking too much about where meat comes from creates a mental conflict — consciously or subconsciously, says licensed clinical psychologist Alicia Clark, PsyD. People as a whole are empathetic to all creatures and are naturally averse to killing, which is necessary to get meat, she points out.

“It is this conflict that in turn provokes our efforts to solve it, which is where explanations, and even rationalizations, can come in,” she tells Yahoo Health.


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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD