Of meat and men: Sex differences in implicit and explicit attitudes toward meat

Hamish J. Love, Danielle Sulikowski

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77 Citations (Scopus)
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Modern attitudes to meat in both men and women reflect a strong meat-masculinity association. Sex differences in the relationship between meat and masculinity have not been previously explored. In the current study we used two IATs (implicit association tasks), a visual search task, and a questionnaire to measure implicit and explicit attitudes toward meat in men and women. Men exhibited stronger implicit associations between meat and healthiness than did women, but both sexes associated meat more strongly with ‘healthy’ than ‘unhealthy’ concepts. As ‘healthy’ was operationalized in the current study using terms such as “virile” and “powerful,” this suggests that a meat-strength/power association may mediate the meat-masculinity link readily observed across western cultures. The sex difference was not related to explicit attitudes to meat, nor was it attributable to a variety of other factors, such as a generally more positive disposition toward meat in men than women. Men also exhibited an attention bias toward meats, compared to non-meat foods, while females exhibited more caution when searching for non-meat foods, compared to meat. These biases were not related to implicit attitudes, but did tend to increase with increasing hunger levels. Potential ultimate explanations for these differences, including sex differences in bio-physiological needs and receptivity to social signals are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number559
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018


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