Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

December 2015

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Sophia Evett

Abstract

Vegans often report finding themselves and their diets as the subjects of ridicule and disparaging attitudes. These attitudes could be due to moral identity threat, a self-defense mechanism that preserves one's concept of being a good person in the face of perceived moral exemplars. The present study tested this hypothesis by having participants sample the same cookie from two baskets, with one basket being labelled as "vegan" and the other being labelled as "classic." Moral identity threat and attitudes towards vegans were measured using surveys adapted from prior moral psychology studies. The results show that those with high moral identity threat show a statistically significant preference for the cookie labelled as "classic" and no preference for the same cookie labelled as "vegan". Furthermore, high scores of moral identity threat were correlated with negative vegan attitudes. These results show that negative attitudes towards vegan food and vegans may be influenced by internal self defense mechanisms rather than the actual quality of the food and people being judged.

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