Gordon Hodson Ph.D.

Without Prejudice

Conservatism Predicts Lapses Back to Meat Consumption

Another example of ideology mattering outside of the political domain.

Posted Sep 15, 2017

In some of my past columns, such as “Ideology Matters (Too Much),” I have discussed how political ideology is very relevant to our day-to-day lives, not just in the voting booth.

But can ideology predict meat consumption? Quite simply: yes. For instance, polls suggest a political divide in meat consumption between the left and the right.

Consider these data from Pew: 

Gordon Hodson
Source: Gordon Hodson

Democrats are twice as likely to be vegetarian or vegan (“veg*n”) relative to Republicans. These differences become more pronounced when you ask about whether people consider themselves liberal or conservative. Those who are both liberal and democrat are almost four times more likely to be vegan than those conservative and republican (see figure). 

In a past column on the so-called “meat paradox," I discussed some research confirming these ideological differences in meat consumption.

In my lab, we recently published a paper (Hodson & Earle, 2018) examining the degree to which political ideology can predict lapses back to meat consumption among people who have attempted to quit eating meat. Note that this paper can be accessed for free for the 50 days following September 7, 2017, at this link to the publisher: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1VejwiVKTHp6x (After this point, you will have to pay the publisher to access the paper.)

The dataset we used for this analysis was generously provided to us by the charity organization Faunalytics. I refer the interested reader to a synopsis of the findings of our new study on their website.


(see also my past column for additional readings)

Hodson, G., & Earle, M. (2018). Conservatism predicts lapses from vegetarian/vegan diets to meat consumption (through lower social justice concerns and social support). Appetite, 120, 75-81. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2017.08.027

For 50 days following Sept 7, 2017, the paper above is accessible for free at this link https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1VejwiVKTHp6x

Jost, J.T., Glaser, J., Kruglanski, A.W., & Sulloway, F.J. (2003). Political conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 339-375. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.3.339