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As the detrimental effects of mass meat consumption on global warming and animal welfare become more pronounced, meat eaters should experience increased conflict about their meat consumption. The current study aims to investigate the role of conflicting attitudes on meat consumption, also known as ambivalence. It is hypothesized that ambivalence is associated with decreased meat consumption, and that this relationship is stronger when ambivalence recurs more often, which is further amplified for people high in metacognition. ESM data was gathered from 440 English participants during a five-day period, using the ExpiWell smartphone application. The current study was interested in the within person variance in a 2-level cross-level interaction model and analyses were run using multilevel modelling techniques.
Results showed a negative relation between felt ambivalence and meat consumption, a significant interaction effect of recurrent ambivalence and felt ambivalence on meat consumption, and a significant three-way interaction effect of recurrence and metacognition on the relationship between felt ambivalence and meat consumption. These results indicate that people who experienced stronger ambivalence towards meat consumption actually eat less meat, and even more so when they experience this ambivalence more often. The results on metacognition showed no significant effects, but plots of simple effects indicate that metacognition might indeed play a role in the relationship between ambivalence and meat consumption. These plots are discussed further in the discussion. These findings are among the first to incorporate temporal dynamics within the field of ambivalence and meat consumption, and suggest that ambivalence and its recurrence could could play an important role in a reduction of meat consumption