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    Rights statement: ©American Psychological Association, 2020. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000738

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Butchers’ and Deli Workers’ Psychological Adaptation to Meat

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Emotion
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date1/03/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

In many societies today, the average consumer is largely removed from the earlier stages of meat production wherein meat, in many ways, resembles an animal. The present study examined the emotional and psychological consequences of recurrent meat handling. Fifty-six individuals with commercial experience handling meat (butchers and deli workers) were contrasted with 103 individuals without such experience. Participants were presented images of meat from 3 animals—cows, sheep, and fish—that were experimentally manipulated in their degree of animal resemblance. Participants rated the images on measures of disgust, empathy for the animal, and meat–animal association. Broader beliefs and attitudes about meat and animals were also assessed. We used mixed-effect linear modeling to examine the role of time spent handling meat in participants’ psychological adaptation to it. We observed significant reductions in disgust, empathy, and meat–animal association within the first year or 2 of meat handling for all types of meat. Time spent handling meat also predicted the degree to which a person defended and rationalized meat consumption and production, independent of a participant’s gender and age. The findings have implications for understanding how people adapt to potentially aversive contexts such as handling animal parts.

Bibliographic note

©American Psychological Association, 2020. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000738