Monday, November 29, 2010

What happens when we see meat?

What were these researchers eating before running these tests?
Red mushrooms with white spots on?? [these?]
Come on!! This is almost ignobel-level work...

Looking at turkey meat could have a calming effect, a trait that was passed down from our prehistoric ancestors.
For the study, subjects had to punish a script reader every time he made an error while sorting photos. Some of the images showed cooked poultry and red meat, while others displayed geometric shapes. The subjects believed they could inflict various volumes of sound, ranging from barely noticeable to "very painful" to the script reader, which he would hear after his performance.

The script reader was actually a colleague of Kachanoff's who never endured the punishment and who feigned forgetting his lines every so often, looking at a cheat sheet for six seconds each time he "forgot" his script.

The researchers predicted that when pictures of meat were sorted, as opposed to geometric shapes, participants would inflict more discomfort on the reader. Just the opposite happened, however. The meat images actually resulted in less punishment.

"It would make sense that our ancestors would be calm, as they would be surrounded by friends and family at meal time," Kachanoff said.
'' [source]

Another interesting question could be: in what form meat works as a tranquillizer?
Would a supermarket package of poultry meat, be interesting for a caveman?
Or my ancestral instincts are triggered more by a picture of an actual deer?
What about meat-rich baby-food? (ops sorry, I was thinking about Robocop there... :D :D )

Wait: I've got it.
The other kind of images they used in these tests are abstract geometric stuff. So who says it is the meat calming us down. Perhaps the tested people were really pissed by the modern art... Food for thought, surely :D :D :D

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