Know why vegetarians are so angry? They don't eat meat, it seems. So this Thanksgiving, grab the turkey leg and tear off a hunk of flesh with your teeth and rationalize that evolutionary psychology thinks it made your cavemen ancestors nicer people.
Frank Kachanoff , an undergraduate student in McGill University’s Department of Psychology, says that contrary to the image of athletes and carnivorous animals in the wild as hyper-aggressive, meat appears to make human beings significantly less aggressive. “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 behavior.”
He doesn't need to do a study to know guns make people less aggressive either. Research shows an armed society is a polite society and the countries of Scotland, Wales and England, where guns are banned, lead western civilization in crime.
To anthropologists, the idea that associating meat with aggressive behavior makes sense, as it would have helped our primate ancestors with hunting and protecting their meat resources. Evolutionary psychologists believe humans have innate reflexes which determine societal trends and personal behavior. Kachanoff speculates that humans may have 'evolved' (sure to make biologists crazy with rage) an innate predisposition to respond aggressively towards meat, so he recruited fellow males to test his hypothesis.
The experiment involved 82 subjects who had to punish a script reader every time he made an error while sorting photos, some with pictures of meat, and others with neutral imagery. The subjects believed that they could inflict various volumes of sound, including 'painful', to the script reader, which he would hear after his performance. While the research team figured that the group sorting pictures of meat would inflict more discomfort on the reader, that was not the case.
“We used imagery of meat that was ready to eat. In terms of behaviour, with the benefit of hindsight, it would make sense that our ancestors would be calm, as they would be surrounded by friends and family at meal time,” Kachanoff explained. “I would like to run this experiment again, using hunting images. Perhaps Thanksgiving next year will be a great opportunity for a do-over!”
Kachanoff’s research was carried out under the direction of Dr. Donald Taylor and Ph.D student Julie Caouette of McGill’s Department of Psychology and was presented at the university’s annual undergraduate science symposium.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Smoking, Drinking And Eating: It's Not About Your Freedom
- Part I: Bee Deaths Mystery Solved? Neonicotinoids (Neonics) May Actually Help Bee Health
- Part II: Bee Deaths And CCD - Flawed Chensheng Lu Harvard Studies Endanger Bees
- Coffee Lowers Risk Of Alzheimer's Up To 20 Percent
- Big Data Engineering - Now With More Neuroscience
- Diversity Fatigue: Why Businesses Struggle To Close The Gender Gap
- Like Collaboration And Intelligence In Humans? Thank War
- "No intelligent person believes tobacco controls' santimonious twaddle anymore. This is the purvey..."
- "A note from THE SIN OF PROHIBITION by G.K.Chesterton:So if you wish to change corporate behaviour..."
- "How can diseases linked to smoking tobacco be on the rise when the smoking rate has been consistently..."
- "I was looking at The Winnower again this morning, which led me back here. I tried to comment on..."
- "There is no question they were created to cater to universities and are staffed by people from..."
- Behavioral interventions to prevent progression to diabetes equally effective in men and women
- Gender differences in adaptation to space flight
- Long-term complication rate low in nose job using patient's own rib cartilage
- Survival differences seen for advanced-stage laryngeal cancer
- Effect of once-daily, low-dose aspirin on heart attack deaths and other outcomes