Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meat that makes you calm (and it's not in your pants)

Posted By on Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Here's the gist: A scientist began a study with the hypothesis that meat would make people more aggressive, but he found, instead, just the sight of meat can calm men down. No wonder they're often found shoving it in their faces around campfires, or tailgates.

From the Montreal Gazette:

With anecdotes of football coaches feeding their players red meat before games and images of animals snarling at anyone getting close to them while eating, Kachanoff thought aggression would increase in the presence of images of dead animal flesh intended for consumption.

From an evolutionary point of view, one might expect aggression to increase at the sight of meat, due to the hunting and protective instincts it could provoke, Mc-Gill researchers initially hypothesized.

But the actual result of less aggression might reflect a genetic disposition to feel comfort at the sight of meat, with it being associated with gatherings of family and friends, the study's authors said.

Speaking of how ancient ancestors might have adapted their responses to the sight of meat ready for consumption, Kachanoff said "It wouldn't be advantageous to be aggressive anymore because you would've already used your aggression to acquire the meat, and furthermore, you'd be surrounded by people who share . . . your DNA.

"One of the basic principles in evolution is to want to preserve not only your DNA, but also that of your next of kin."

Read the rest of this article, by Derek Abma, here.

Further reading:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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