(FULLY ONLINE) Meals, Emotions, and Behaviours


The conflict that most meat-eaters experience between their enjoyment of meat and their moral concerns over animal suffering has been referred to as the ‘meat-paradox’ (Bastian, Loughnan, Haslam, & Radke, 2012). Bastian and Loughnan (2016) have recently advanced a theory of how people resolve the meat-paradox, and in doing so have developed a motivational framework for understanding how people and societies manage to persist with morally troubling behaviour by minimizing personal responsibility and reducing dissonance.    This research is both theoretically interesting, and practically relevant given the role meat consumption currently plays in climate change and the treatment of farmed animals. Additionally, campaigns designed to change ethical attitudes and behaviour need to consider whether they represent a challenge to peoples own moral self-image. When they do, these campaigns may not only fail to achieve change, but may even build more resistance to change.

Research Questions / Hypotheses

We aimed to explore the emotional, motivational, and moral dynamics surrounding meat eating behaviour and what factors contribute to actual behavioural change regarding meat eating behaviour.


Approximately 150 REP participants signed up to the study.


Participants were invited to the 1st part of the study where they completed several questionnaires, received instructions on how to use the experience sampling software, and training on reporting the servings of meat in meals. Next, they completed the first baseline week of experience sampling where they were prompted after each meal (i.e., three times a day) to complete short surveys about the servings of meat in their meals, meal appraisals, their moral self-image, and affect. At the conclusion of their first week of experience sampling, participants began the 2nd part of the study where they completed several more questionnaires and viewed the graphic 10-minute video on factory farming practices. Participants then completed their second week of experience sampling recording.


Currently, the data is being cleaned and prepped for analysis. Preliminary results suggest that after watching the 10min graphic video on factory farming practices participants tended to reduce their meat consumption and this stayed fairly stable throughout the week.


The preliminary results of this study suggest that highly graphic videos of factory farming practices leads to participants reducing their meat consumption and that this effect remains for at least a week.