Sight of Meat Makes Men Less Aggressive, Calms Them Down


American Meat Institute 1946Found in Mom's Basement

No wonder us weekday vegetarians are so jittery by Tuesday. Frank Kachanoff of McGill University thought that meat would make people more aggressive; you know what happens if you try to take it from a feeding animal. Instead he found the opposite. He is quoted on McGill's website:

I was inspired by research on priming and aggression, that has shown that just looking at an object which is learned to be associated with aggression, such as a gun, can make someone more likely to behave aggressively. I wanted to know if we might respond aggressively to certain stimuli in our environment not because of learned associations, but because of an innate predisposition. I wanted to know if just looking at the meat would suffice to provoke an aggressive behaviour.

82 subjects were asked to punish actors if they made a mistake while sorting pictures. Evidently they inflicted less pain if the pictures were of meat. Kachanoff concludes that we associate meat with happy times, gatherings with family and friends. By the time it is cooked, we are relaxed and happier. He tells the Montreal Gazette:

It wouldn't be advantageous to be aggressive anymore because you would've already used your aggression to acquire the meat, and furthermore, you'd be surrounded by people who share . . . your DNA. One of the basic principles in evolution is to want to preserve not only your DNA, but also that of your next of kin.

So having the big meaty meal before going into the big game, big deal or battle might not be the best idea after all; Vegetarians are edgier.

More in the Montreal Gazette

Tags: Vegan | Weekday Vegetarian

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