ISAZ 2018

Symposium 6

Adopting an inclusive perspective to understand our relations with animals and their important (but sometimes conflicting) place in human lives: A role for social psychology

Date: Wednesday 4th July
Time: 10:45 am - 12:05 pm
Room: Platypus Room (Seminar Rooms 1.2/1.4)

Chair: Catherine Amiot

UQAM, Montreal, QUEBEC, Canada

In this symposium, we draw on social psychological theories to better understand the nature of our ubiquitous yet paradoxical relations with different species and (sub)groups of animals. Indeed, social psychological principles are relevant to understanding human-animal relations (Plous, 2003; Amiot & Bastian, 2015) and to predict for whom and under what conditions animals will be loved, hated, or eaten (Herzog, 2010). 

This 1 hour 20 minute symposium will include several speakers, and time for general discussions. Details of the individual presentations are provided below.

Cluny South

The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Cluny South will present three studies that investigate people’s support for an animal charity and how we include a broader vs. narrower range of animal species as our ingroup. Results demonstrate a trend towards more inclusivity of different animal species and higher donations for an animal charity among participants who are high in independent self-construal, especially when they do not feel strongly connected to humans.

Catherine Amiot

UQAM, Montreal, QUEBEC, Canada

Catherine Amiot will present three studies investigating the different ways through which we can feel connected to, and identify with, animals. Results reveal that while solidarity with animals predicts more pro-social actions toward animals, and that human-animal similarity predicts higher moral concerns toward animals (including pets and meat-animals), animal pride is associated with less ‘humane’ attitudes and behaviours.

Brock Bastian

The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic, Australia

Brock Bastian will present two experiments that reveal how making harm to animals salient leads to reduced meat consumption and meat-eating intentions over a two-week period, but that particularly high levels of harm can lead to backfiring effects, especially when this harm is over-challenging and not within one’s personal control.

Matthew Ruby

La Trobe University, Wodonga, Vic, Australia

Matthew Ruby explores, in two studies, the subjective experiences of ‘conflicted omnivores’, that is, people who eat meat yet feel negative emotions toward this behaviour. The studies examine how this notion predicts increased environmental sustainability concerns, and how these associations differ across cultures.

Together, the talks will illustrate the role played by both social and personality-level factors in human-animal relations.


Amiot, C. E., & Bastian, B. (2015).Toward a psychology of human-animal relations. Psychological Bulletin, 141(1), 6-47.

Herzog, H. A. (2010). Some we love, some we hate, some we eat: Why it’s so hard to think straight about animals. New York, NY: Harper.

Plous, S. (2003). Is there such a thing as prejudice toward animals? In S. Plous (Ed.), Understanding prejudice and discrimination (pp. 509-528). New York: McGraw-Hill.