The news didn't shock or surprise me when it came out last August.
The Dutch Daily News:
"Meat brings out the worst in people. This is what psychologists of the Radboud University Nijmegen and Tilburg University concluded from varrious studies on the psychological significance of meat.
Thinking of meat makes people less socially and in many respects more "loutish". It also appears that people are more likely to choose meat when they feel insecure, perhaps because it is a feeling of superiority or status displays, the researchers suggest.
Marcel Zeelenberg Tilburg professors (Economic psychology) and Diederik Stapel (consumer sciences and dean of Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences) and the Nijmegen Professor Roos Vonk (social psychology) examined the psychological significance of meat. "People say, meat is tasty, it's healthy. But like many other meat products has also a symbolic and expressive value ', Zeelenberg explained. "Think of driving a Hummer or a Panda. With both you’ll get to your destination, but a Hummer is tougher. Like the Hummer meat is bad for the environment and climate. It is also bad for animals, the third world and our own health. But people can get quite upset when you tell them that. They are obviously very attached to their steak."
The PETA Files:
Is it selfish to eat shellfish? The results of several studies in the Netherlands seem to indicate so. Three professors at two universities have determined that meat-eaters are more selfish and distant and less social than vegetarians are.
Of course, it shouldn't come as any surprise that sentencing an animal (or several) to death for the fleeting taste of a turkey sandwich or bacon cheeseburger shows a certain lack of empathy, decency, and altruism. But the researchers studying the psychological impact of meat-eating concluded that carnivores are insecure people who feel the need to dominate others and be "the boss." They eat animals as a way to feel superior. Vegetarians, on the other hand, are less selfish and less lonely—and therefore happier.
Could this mean that happiness is waiting at the end of the produce aisle? I'm pretty sure that leafy greens are a lot cheaper than therapy.
People who eat meat are more selfish, less social and more distant.
At least that's what three professors from Tilburg and Nijmegen report after having conducted several studies about the psychological impact of meat and meat eating. According to the findings carnivores feel superior to others whilst vegetarians and flexitarians are happier and less lonely.
Experiments indicated that insecure people preferred beef to eggs and fish. Another interesting finding is that participants who had looked at a picture of a cow and steak demonstrated a more selfish attitude in multiple choice tests, compared to those having been shown a tree.
The research was done by psychologist Marcel Zeelenberg, consumer scientist Diederik Stapel and psychologist Roos Vonk.
"Carnivores think more in terms of dominance and being the boss. Eating meat is a way to rise up above others, "says Vonk.
As was to be expected, this study has created already a super buzz in the country: Meateaters are not amused!
You get the drift.
The essentials of the thesis are these: as social animals, we're hard wired to spurn "selfishness." Meat, in general and on average, motivates us to be less concerned with social well-being and more concerned with ourselves. Therefore, meat is an anti-social influence. Ergo, Go Veg!
But there's a huge confounder here. We didn't really evolve as virtual slaves to some national identity with physical borders that can include other individuals numbering in the million and billions. No, we evolved to account for the values and actions of a few dozen other homies: "friends & family."
So, to unravel this in an evolutionary sense, do you really think that thoughts of meat motivate you to exploit those closest to you for your own gain, in exchange for their loss?
You thought of meat; and so sorry mom, no card and flowers on Mother's Day?
Sorry bro, I can't help you with that project; I've come down with baby-back rib brain?
I don't think so. Alternatively, how about if eating an evolutionarily appropriate diet of meat, fish, fowl, vegetables and fruit makes your brain perform at its best and so, you're more likely to nurture your friends & family relationships while at the same time, not worrying too much if a stranger mother doesn't get a car & flowers on Mother's Day? And the brother of a friend of a friend of a friend's friend? He's on his own.
...And do you really think that honoring your mother, lending a hand to your brother, sitting at the bedside of a loved one for the days in advance of their eventual demise is selflessness? What, you don't really value them, your relationship, the interconnectedness of mutual relationships with other friends and family who take stock of your actions towards the circle as a whole?
You see, I'm just honest enough with myself to realize and admit that when I'm lending a hand and building lasting value in my own close circle of relationships, that I'm being viscously selfish, because they are all so important to me.
Well, I guess none of this occurred to University of Tilburg Professor Diederik Stapel, because he was too busy faking his data.
A prominent Dutch social psychologist who once claimed to have shown that the very act of thinking about eating meat makes people behave more selfishly has been found to have faked data throughout much of his career.
In one of the worst cases of scientific fraud on record in the Netherlands, a review committee made up of some of the country’s top scientists has found that University of Tilburg Prof. Diederik Stapel systematically falsified data to achieve the results he wanted.
The university has fired the 45-year-old Stapel and plans to file fraud charges against him, university spokesman Walther Verhoeven said Thursday.
Stapel acknowledged in a statement the accusations were largely true.
“I have manipulated study data and fabricated investigations,” he wrote in an open letter published by De Volkskrant newspaper this week. “I realize that via this behavior I have left my direct colleagues stunned and angry and put my field, social psychology, in a poor light.”
Stapel said he was ashamed and offered his apologies.
So there you go, a "don't believe everything you read" update.