The Psychology of Fake Meat


I saw this photo the other day and thought to myself "that looks delicious, too bad it's vegan fake chicken . . . mmm I should go to the Eden Center and get banh mi sometime soon." But now via McMegan I learn that it may be all in my head:

The clever experiment went like this: a large group of people were given a "human values" test which seeks to measure fifty six different values (loyalty, ambition, social order, etc.) Then, the subjects were asked to rate a variety of sausages. People who scored high on "social authority" - they believed it was important to support people in power - tended to label the "vegetarian" sausage as inferior, even when the vegetarian sausage was actually from a cow. Likewise, people who scored low on "social power values" tended to score the vegan sausage much higher than the beef sausage, even when they were actually eating meat. Instead of judging the food product on its merits, they ended up preferring the product that more closely conformed to their value system. The scientists also conducted a similar experiment with Pepsi. Sure enough, people who fit the Pepsi demographic - they think having an "exciting life" is very important - always preferred Pepsi, even when they were actually drinking a generic cola.

Perhaps it's time to give vegan sausage a try.

Photo by Flickr user monkeyone used under a Creative Commons license