Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > How bad is it to eat an intelligent chicken?


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

How bad is it to eat an intelligent chicken?: Children's judgments of eating animals are less ‘self-serving’ than adults

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article numbere12709
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/02/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Social Development
Issue number1
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date14/09/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


AbstractResearch shows that adult meat eaters strategically distort or disregard information about animals (e.g., their intelligence) that is problematic for meat consumption. However, the development of such behaviours is not well understood. Two studies tested whether primary‐school‐age children exhibit motivated use of information about food animals as adults do (N = 148 children, 410 adults). Using experimental methods that manipulated participants’ perceptions of the intelligence (high vs. low) of food animals versus non‐food animals (Study 1) and the perspective taken (self vs. other; Study 2), it was found that, compared to adult omnivores, children tend to hold stronger moral views about the wrongness of harming animals to use as food. Only adults exhibited motivated non‐use of intelligence information and self‐other distinctions in their moral‐concern judgments. Children's judgments of eating animals did not exhibit the strategic, self‐serving processes characteristic of adult meat eaters. Psychological explanations for these developmental differences are discussed.