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Article

Intergroup Sensitivity and Promoting Sustainable Consumption: Meat Eaters Reject Vegans’ Call for a Plant-Based Diet

1
Department of Psychology, Paris-Lodron University Salzburg, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
2
Department of Psychology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Lisa McNeill
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1741; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031741
Received: 25 November 2021 / Revised: 13 January 2022 / Accepted: 28 January 2022 / Published: 2 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Psychology and Behavioural Change)
Reducing meat consumption can make immediate contributions to fighting the climate crisis. A growing minority adheres to meat-free diets and could convince others to follow suit. We argue, however, that recipients’ social identification as meat eaters may impede the effectiveness of such calls (i.e., an intergroup sensitivity effect based on dietary groups). Indeed, meat eaters in our experiment (N = 260) were more likely to reject calls for dietary change from a vegan than from a fellow meat eater. This effect was also evidenced in evaluations of and engagement with an initiative to promote a vegan diet (“Veganuary”), providing some indication for behavioral impact. In contrast, our societal dietary norm manipulation had no consistent effects on observed outcomes. Exploratory moderation analyses show a limited impact of participants’ social identification as meat eaters but highlight the role of peoples’ general willingness to engage in environmentally friendly behavior. We discuss theoretical and practical implications, including how our results challenge existing approaches to promoting a meat-reduced diet. View Full-Text
Keywords: intergroup sensitivity effect; group criticism; sustainable consumption; vegan diet; vegetarian diet intergroup sensitivity effect; group criticism; sustainable consumption; vegan diet; vegetarian diet
MDPI and ACS Style

Thürmer, J.L.; Stadler, J.; McCrea, S.M. Intergroup Sensitivity and Promoting Sustainable Consumption: Meat Eaters Reject Vegans’ Call for a Plant-Based Diet. Sustainability 2022, 14, 1741. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031741

AMA Style

Thürmer JL, Stadler J, McCrea SM. Intergroup Sensitivity and Promoting Sustainable Consumption: Meat Eaters Reject Vegans’ Call for a Plant-Based Diet. Sustainability. 2022; 14(3):1741. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031741

Chicago/Turabian Style

Thürmer, J. L., Juliane Stadler, and Sean M. McCrea. 2022. "Intergroup Sensitivity and Promoting Sustainable Consumption: Meat Eaters Reject Vegans’ Call for a Plant-Based Diet" Sustainability 14, no. 3: 1741. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031741

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