When it comes to meat, you know the drill. Men are men; men eat meat; meat means manly men. (How’s that for a meaty alliteration?)
But a new study—which surprised even its lead researcher—has found that the mere sight of meat can calm men down, instead of sparking the primal bloodlust you’d expect.
“I just wanted to know if just looking at meat would be enough to provoke an aggressive behavior,” said Frank Kachanoff, a researcher at McGill University. “I was thinking about what kind of behavior would have been adaptive to our ancestors. My results showed the opposite, that our participants were less aggressive when looking at images of meat.”
Kachanoff asked the study’s male participants to look at photos of either raw meat or neutral images. (The meat was standard supermarket fare—nothing creepy, like what we wrote about here.)
He then put each participant through aggression tests, which asked them to punish another person each time that person made an error reading a script (a common experimental method for measuring aggression).
His original hypothesis was that the men would display heightened aggression and impulsive behavior. The participants, however, ended up more likely to be lenient. Meat chilled them out.
“[W]ith the benefit of hindsight, it would make sense that our ancestors would be calm, as they would be surrounded by friends and family at meal time,” Kachanoff said.
We wonder if Lady Gaga’s dress would have the same effect.