Vegans think differently—really. Last month, an Italian-based research team published a study indicating that vegans and vegetarians use different parts of the brain in response to images of human and animal suffering than do meat-eaters. The team used MRI scans to investigate whether vegans and vegetarians who specifically made food choices for ethical reasons “might show brain responses to conditions of suffering involving humans or animals different from omnivores.” Well, it turns out we do.
Using MRI, the brains of 60 adults (20 omnivores, 19 vegetarians, 21 vegans) were scanned while they were shown images of human and animal suffering, alternating with natural landscapes. Basically, when compared to omnivores, vegans and vegetarians used different parts of the brain associated with empathy and social cognition in response to images of suffering, especially of animals.
The article is titled “The Brain Functional Networks Associated to Human and Animal Suffering Differ among Omnivores, Vegetarians and Vegans”. Check it out for all the fascinating details.