Meat eaters are selfish and less social
"Meat brings out the worst in people. This is what psychologists of the Radboud University Nijmegen and Tilburg University concluded from various studies on the psychological significance of meat.
Thinking of meat makes people less socially [sic] 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.
The conclusion was that eating meat is symptomatic of some sort of psychological disorder. This, of course, was just what militant vegetarians wanted to hear and it was eye-catching enough to make it into the newspapers.
Roos Vonk, known for her columns and books about how our ego gets in our way, doesn’t feel shocked. "Previous research had already shown that meat eaters think more in terms of dominance and hierarchy (who is the boss?) than vegetarians. Eating meat is also traditionally associated with status, meat used to be much more expensive and scarcer than now. Eating meat is a way to elevate yourself above others. But by uplifting yourself, you lose connection with others. That explains why there are more insecure people in need. It also makes people loutish when they think about meat and also feel lonely. "
Diederik Stapel adds to it: "It seems that vegetarians and flexitarians are happier and feel better, and they are also more sociable and less lonely."
Diederik Stapel is a social psychologist with a string of peer-reviewed studies to his name, including this one - just another junk scientist forcing his beliefs onto others with the veneer of social science. Nothing special about that, except that this story has a happy ending.
Dutch 'Lord of the Data' Forged Dozens of Studies
One of the Netherlands' leading social psychologists made up or manipulated data in dozens of papers over nearly a decade, an investigating committee has concluded.
Diederik Stapel was suspended from his position at Tilburg University in the Netherlands in September after three junior researchers reported that they suspected scientific misconduct in a study that claimed eating meat made people more aggressive.
Stapel's work encompassed a broad range of attention-catching topics, including the influence of power on moral thinking and the reaction of psychologists to a plagiarism scandal. The committee, which interviewed dozens of Stapel's former students, postdoctoral researchers, co-authors, and colleagues, found that Stapel alone was responsible for the fraud. The panel reported that he would discuss in detail experimental designs, including drafting questionnaires, and would then claim to conduct the experiments at high schools and universities with which he had special arrangements.
The experiments, however, never took place, the universities concluded. Stapel made up the data sets, which he then gave the student or collaborator for analysis, investigators allege. In other instances, the report says, he told colleagues that he had an old data set lying around that he hadn't yet had a chance to analyze. When Stapel did conduct actual experiments, the committee found evidence that he manipulated the results.
This is the kind of thing that the public expects peer-review to be able to weed out. In practice, alas, peer-reviewers do not verify raw data nor do they obtain proof that experiments have been carried out. Most of the time, they wouldn't be able to perform these checks even if they wanted to.
Not that I'm suggesting that peer-review is massively over-rated - sometimes reviewers will correct spelling mistakes.
The data were also suspicious, the report says: effects were large; missing data and outliers were rare; and hypotheses were rarely refuted. Journals publishing Stapel's papers did not question the omission of details about where the data came from. "We see that the scientific checks and balances process has failed at several levels," Levelt says.
The case of Mr Stapel is highly unusual. He got caught.
One down, hundreds to go.