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STUDY: Targeting the conscious mind to reduce demand for meat

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Providing information about animal welfare showed a significant reduction in intended meat consumption to a higher degree than about health or environmental implications.

MIA RISHEL: Encouraging people to reduce their meat intake poses its own challenges, but a growing body of research is providing insight into the most effective ways of doing so. In this study, a group of researchers reviewed contemporary literature on interventions targeted at “conscious determinants” of behavior; in other words, the conscious system of learning and memory used to explain and predict our behavior…

The review included over 25,000 observations of individuals or individual meat purchases and looked at self-monitoring and various educational interventions connecting meat consumption to issues including individual health, animal welfare, and the environment…

Providing written information about animal welfare showed a significant reduction in intended meat consumption, to a higher degree than similar interventions using messages about individual health or environmental implications. Providing information about two or more consequences of consuming meat did not appear to increase effectiveness. Evidence from this emerging field suggests targeting “conscious determinants” could be effective in influencing consumer behavior…

Providing education showed an effect on intentions but not in behavior. Meanwhile, self-monitoring showed some potential in reducing actual meat consumption. If delivered at scale along with other interventions, this could potentially help contribute to a population-wide reduction in the demand for meat. However, targeting unconscious determinants of behavior might help bridge the intention-behavior gap and provide a more significant effect. SOURCE…

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