Psychological Mechanisms in the Human Use of Animals

Psychological Mechanisms in the Human Use of Animals American society uses millions of animals each day for food, recreation, and a variety of other purposes, yet psychologists—in contrast to other social scientists—have devoted very little attention to studying how people think about their use of animals. In this article, I propose that many factors supporting the use of animals are psychological in nature and are therefore legitimate topics for psychological research. After a brief review of research on attitudes toward the use of animals, I discuss several psychological factors that enable people to harm animals for human benefit: (1) structural variables that dissociate consumptive practices from the infliction of harm, (2) mechanisms that reduce personal conflict when dissociation is threatened, (3) ingroup‐outgroup biases, and (4) factors relating to the perceived similarity of animals and humans. Throughout, the emphasis is on opportunities for empirical research rather than ideological or philosophical arguments concerning animal rights. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Social Issues Wiley

Psychological Mechanisms in the Human Use of Animals

Journal of Social Issues, Volume 49 (1) – Apr 1, 1993

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
1993 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
ISSN
0022-4537
eISSN
1540-4560
DOI
10.1111/j.1540-4560.1993.tb00907.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

American society uses millions of animals each day for food, recreation, and a variety of other purposes, yet psychologists—in contrast to other social scientists—have devoted very little attention to studying how people think about their use of animals. In this article, I propose that many factors supporting the use of animals are psychological in nature and are therefore legitimate topics for psychological research. After a brief review of research on attitudes toward the use of animals, I discuss several psychological factors that enable people to harm animals for human benefit: (1) structural variables that dissociate consumptive practices from the infliction of harm, (2) mechanisms that reduce personal conflict when dissociation is threatened, (3) ingroup‐outgroup biases, and (4) factors relating to the perceived similarity of animals and humans. Throughout, the emphasis is on opportunities for empirical research rather than ideological or philosophical arguments concerning animal rights.

Journal

Journal of Social IssuesWiley

Published: Apr 1, 1993

References

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