Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Meat is a prevalent staple in Western diets, but its consumption is unsustainable for the environment. Despite this, meat consumption is often justified by denying animals a moral status, assuming human superiority over non-human animals, and creating biases toward nonhuman animals which asserts a human-animal divide. The current study aimed to bridge the gap of this divide and was the first to investigate whether imagined intergroup contact with a farm animal improved attitudes and affect toward beef and reduced motivation to consume meat. College-age students imagined having a positive experience with either a calf (n = 36), kitten (n = 35), or child (n = 33). Following the imagined interaction, participants completed a forced-choice task to measure implicit wanting and relative preference for beef relative to other foods, an Implicit Association Test (IAT) to measure implicit attitudes towards meat and vegetables, and indicated their explicit liking & wanting for various food stimuli and their willingness to reduce meat consumption. Results revealed that participants who imagined interactions with the calf had reduced implicit wanting and relative preference for beef products relative to the other conditions. However, there was no significant difference between groups in explicit liking, wanting, and implicit attitudes towards beef, nor willingness to reduce future meat consumption by condition. Our findings suggest that interactions with a calf may reduce one’s motivation to consume beef products in the short term, and thus may be an effective manipulation as a part of a broader program.
Cerrato, Stephanie, "Meet Your Meat: Imagined Intergroup Contact on Implicit and Explicit Responses to Food" (2020). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1476.
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