Proximal Strategies in the Rejection of Meat by Vegetarians: A Pilot Study

Potts, H. W. W. 

Abstract: Individuals becoming vegetarian may achieve a significant dietary change - something people usually find very difficult. There is some evidence for ‘disgust' being used as an immediate (or "proximal"), cognitive strategy to help make this change. Using a methodology based on Fallon & Rozin (1983, Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 13, 15-26), 12 vegetarians and 31 non-vegetarians were asked on 13 questions about their reactions to a familiar and novel meat. The two were different in non-vegetarians (F(10, 17) = 3.8, p = 0.008): they showed ‘disgust' to the novel meat, a finding replicated elsewhere. However, the vegetarians' reactions did not differ (F(10, 2) = 0.86, p >> 0.1). Assuming that vegetarians also show ‘disgust' as part of their reaction to novel meats: then the finding that they show the same pattern of rejection overall to the familiar meat as to the novel, could imply an element of ‘disgust' in the former rejection. Alternative explanations for this finding, i.e. an artefact of the methodology, are discussed.

Oral and poster presentation at Food Choice Conference 3/Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (2nd Independent Meeting), 1994. Abstract published in Appetite, 1995, 24, 196.

Return to Biography