Cognitive dissonance: “The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance” (Source: psychology.about.com).
Meat paradox: “Many people like eating meat, but most are reluctant to harm things that have minds. The current three studies show that this dissonance motivates people to deny minds to animals.”
Denial & Justification:
- “Animals considered “appropriate” for human consumption are ascribed ‘diminished mental capacities’.”
- “Meat eaters are motivated to deny minds to food animals when they are reminded of the link between meat and animal suffering.”
“This mind denial reduces negative affect associated with dissonance. The findings highlight the role of dissonance reduction in facilitating the practice of meat eating and protecting cultural commitments.”
(Source: Bastion, et al., NCBI PubMed.gov, “Don’t mind meat? The denial of mind to animals used for human consumption.” Abstract. Epub 2011 Oct 6.)