hot dog octopusesInsert inappropriate joke about guys playing with their sausages here.Photo: Monica

Meat — it’s what for dinner.

Maybe it should also be what’s for therapy, at least for mad men. Psychology researchers at McGill University in Canada recently steaked the claim that the sight of a big, juicy burger and other well-done meats soothes the savage and beastly instincts in men. Anger management issues? No problem, dude, have some bacon.

Here’s how the psychologists figured it out:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The research was conducted with 82 male subjects who were asked to inflict varying degrees of punishment on actors if they made errors while reading scripts. It was presented as a multi-tasking study to the subjects, who are sorting various pictures while the actors read.

The punishment was made by subjecting the script reader to various volumes of sound, the highest levels believed by the subjects to be painful for the reader. The subjects were less likely to attempt to inflict pain on the reader if it was an image of meat they were looking at while the mistake was made.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

It was a typical type of test for assessing aggression, the researchers said.

While lead researcher Frank Kachanoff was surprised by the results, he now thinks this fits in with the evolution of man vs. wild. By the time someone sees, say, a happy octopus sausage, that person is usually sitting fat and happy around a meal with relatives and friends, not pulling a Wolfman defending his scrap of a carcass. However, Kachanoff wants to chew over the conclusions with more experimentation, this time seeing if women fit into the sausagefest and including photos of raw and so-raw-it-moos meat, not just the kind hot off the barbie.

Think this is a mis-steak? A carnivorous anomoly? Vegetarians in the study didn’t even register on the researchers’ angry meat-thermometers, but they probably weren’t asking these vegetarians.

This study’s not suggesting we add to the heap of meat already flooding Western diets in a bid to achieve world peace. Though hanging a portrait of pork next to the negotiating table might not hurt. Maybe with a nice, steaming bowl of mashed potatoes?


Like what you see? Sign up to receive The Grist List, our email roundup of funny and pun-usual green news just like this, sent out every Friday.