Our ambivalent relations with animals
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Our ambivalent relations with animals book
The empirical material described above is relatively small and generalizations should be made with great precaution. The findings, however, support the hypothesis that people in the Western culture have an ambivalent relation to animals, which could be described by the psychological term “cognitive dissonance,” a state of mind that occurs when an individual’s attitudes and behavior diverge. The great paradox is that this loving and caring seems to be reserved only for the family and the closest relationships. Knowledge about the intelligence and about the social and emotional abilities of farmed animals would probably add to the cognitive dissonance that already exists. If one of the main strategies to cope with the psychological incongruence, the making of distance, fails, then there would be two alternatives: Either the anxiety that follows the cognitive dissonance would increase or another strategy would be necessary.