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Mind your meat: Religious differences in the social perception of animals

Manokara, K; Lee, A; Kamble, SV; Krumhuber, EG; (2020) Mind your meat: Religious differences in the social perception of animals. International Journal of Psychology 10.1002/ijop.12717. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

While previous work demonstrated that animals are categorised based on their edibility, little research has systematically evaluated the role of religion in the perception of animal edibility, particularly when specific animals are deemed sacred in a religion. In two studies, we explored a key psychological mechanism through which sacred animals are deemed inedible by members of a faith: mind attribution. In Study 1, non‐vegetarian Hindus in Singapore (N = 70) evaluated 19 animals that differed in terms of their sacredness and edibility. Results showed that participants categorised animals into three groups: holy animals (high sacredness but low edibility), food animals (low sacredness but high edibility) and neutral animals (low sacredness and low edibility). Holy animals were deemed to possess greater mental life compared to other animal categories. In Study 2, we replicated this key finding with Hindus in India (N = 100), and further demonstrated that the observed pattern of results was specific to Hindus but not Muslims (N = 90). In both studies, mind attribution mediated the negative association between sacredness and edibility. Our findings illustrate how religious groups diverge in animal perception, thereby highlighting the role of mind attribution as a crucial link between sacredness and edibility.

Type: Article
Title: Mind your meat: Religious differences in the social perception of animals
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12717
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/ijop.12717
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Mind perception; Animal consumption; Meat paradox; Religion; Sacredness
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112260
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