Polarising plates: both omnivores and vegans represent in-group foods with eating simulations

Davis, T., Harkins, L. and Papies, E. K. (2023) Polarising plates: both omnivores and vegans represent in-group foods with eating simulations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, (doi: 10.1177/01461672231202276) (PMID:37823529) (Early Online Publication)

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In two pre-registered experiments, we assessed how people cognitively represent meat and plant-based foods, to examine processes underlying dietary polarization in society. Food descriptions from U.K.-based omnivores (Nₑₓₚ. ₁ = 109; Nₑₓₚ. ₂ = 436) and vegans (Nₑₓₚ. ₁ = 111; Nₑₓₚ. ₂ = 407) were coded for features about consumption and reward (e.g., “rich,” “indulgent,” and “treat”) or features independent of the consumption situation (e.g., “healthy,” “protein,” and “eco-friendly”). Participants used more consumption and reward features for diet-congruent dishes (meat dishes for omnivores and plant-based dishes for vegans) than for diet-incongruent dishes (vice versa). Omnivores focused on abstract, long-term consequences of plant-based foods, whereas vegans focused on the socio-political associations with meat foods. Consumption and reward features also positively predicted attractiveness ratings, the likelihood of ordering a dish, and eating intentions. These findings indicate the cognitive processes of polarized dietary groups that may hinder the mainstream transition to more sustainable food choices.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was funded by ESRC Research Grant ES/P000681/1.
Keywords:Language, food, diet, grounded cognition, sustainability.
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Davis, Ms Tess and Papies, Dr Esther
Authors: Davis, T., Harkins, L., and Papies, E. K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1552-7433
Published Online:12 October 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
First Published:First published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2023
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
303166Scottish Graduate School Science Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)Mary Beth KneafseyEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/P000681/1SS - Academic & Student Administration