Relax and look at the meat

I heard about this study on NPR and just had to share it:

Men soothed by sight of meat, study finds 

Apparently some McGill University researchers studied men’s reactions to pictures of meat. They had hypothesized that looking at meat would make the men more aggressive, according to the National Post, a Canadian newspaper.

Mais non!

Researchers asked 82 men to sort photos — some were given images of meat that was ready to eat while others had more neutral images — as actors read from a script. Every time an actor made a mistake, the men were told to “punish” the actor by raising various volumes of sound, the highest levels believed by the subjects to be painful.

The results showed that men were less likely to attempt to inflict pain on the reader if they were looking at an image of meat while the mistake was made.

Sooo…. forget those tinkling water sculptures and Zen sand gardens. Forget massage and Prozac and Windham Hill. Forget smelling the roses and sipping the chamomile.

Next time you’re stressed out…. sit back and look at the steak.

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6 Responses to “Relax and look at the meat”

  1. Kaveh Says:

    First of all, odd that they studied men, vs. men and women. I mean, it doesn’t seem like such an expensive study to make it more interesting… Second, very strange that they hypothesized that looking at meat would make the men aggressive. Even if you would want to link some embedded ancestral hunting behavior, it doesn’t make sense. You see a slab of meat after most of the aggression is OVER. Time to chow with your fellow hunters! Third, I suggest that the image of a nice slice of pizza or a pie would do the same thing, foods that have little to do with hunting. Fourth, a study where subjects are encouraged to ‘punish’ an actor who makes a reading mistake?!

  2. susie m Says:

    That is a SCREAM! Thanks for the best giggle of the day, Ilana!

    And as for Kaveh’s comments…I agree that the study is quite odd on several counts, but I would say that I wouldn’t necessarily link hunting with aggression. Hunting is a calculated activity, and I imagine a certain level of calm would be more useful than a feeling of aggression. But, I do my hunting at the butcher, so what do I know!?

  3. Kaveh Says:

    Susie, perhaps you are defining aggression as anger? Because I think by definition killing is an ultimate act of aggression, even if it’s done in a very calculated and casual way. In any case, I was commenting on the assumed researcher’s link between meat (as obtained by hunting, one assumes they were thinking) and aggression; as I said, I have a lot of issues with their assumptions.

  4. Harry Says:

    Just found your blog from the Washington Week article. I look forward to many more insightful and funny articles. Bye for now — gotta go check the roast.

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