Mindless furry test-tubes: Categorizing animals as lab-subjects leads to their mind denial

Kevin Vezirian, Laurent Bègue, Brock Bastian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite caring for animals, most people use products tested on lab-animals daily, and rarely consider the implications of their choices for animal testing. We experimentally examined across four preregistered and high-powered online studies (total N = 3405) whether categorizing animals as being lab-subjects, in a context where people are also reminded of the implications of their own consumer choices, could lead to their mind denial. Findings confirmed that participants consistently denied mind to animals used for product testing compared to those same animals presented outside of this context. Manipulating the perceived suffering experienced by laboratory animals and the responsibility of individuals, however, did not affect the extent of mind denial. Our findings suggest, consistent with previous work, that categorizing animals as ‘furry test-tubes’ changes how we perceive them, in order to rationalize their use for testing the products we consume on a daily basis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104629
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume114
Early online date17 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2024

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