The influence of cognitive dissonance on the intention to reduce meat consumption

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Climate change currently poses a large global challenge, and, it is undeniable that meat production and consumption play a significant role in this challenge. Reducing meat consumption could reduce the consequences of the meat industry on the climate. Currently, behavioral insights are emerging as a policy tool, and, this can be used in reducing meat consumption. In recent literature, the cognitive dissonance theory has emerged as a way to influence the meat consumption behavior of consumers. This research builds upon that theory, by making people aware of the discrepancy between their animal welfare values and their behavior adhering to those values, in both a social and non-social context. Using ANOVA analyses, a strong positive relationship between cognitive dissonance and intention to reduce meat consumption was found. Gender, pro-environmental self-identity, and self-integrity also appeared to have a positive relationship with the intention to reduce meat consumption. The intervention effectively aroused cognitive dissonance, which had a positive relationship with the intention to reduce meat consumption. Thus, cautiously can be concluded that the intervention results in an increased intention to reduce meat consumption, through dissonance. Keywords: Meat paradox, cognitive dissonance, hypocrisy paradigm, self-integrity, pro-environmental self-identity, animal welfare, social context
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