Rebecca Gregson

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Rebecca Gregson
Lancaster University

A NWSSDTP and Greenpeace funded PhD student at Lancaster University. My area of research is in the field of Psychology and concerns the use of smartphone-based experience sampling to assess meat reduction interventions. Specifically, I am looking at whether there is an additive effect of social support and tailored messaging on pledging success.

In 2018, I graduated with distinction in Psychological Research Method. My research was supervised by Dr. Jared Piazza and together we employed eye-tracking methodology to study eye-directed visual engagement with images of farmed, companion and endangered animals. We know from previous research that eye-directed gaze is typical of high-trait empathy, whereas, irregular visual engagement, where gaze falls away from the eyes or rests on a single eye, is typical of low-trait empathy (Cowan, Vanman & Neilson, 2016). We wanted to understand whether different animals would elicit different empathic gaze patterns and learn more about how diet might interact with this. We found that empathic gaze was significantly greater for companion animals than both wild and farmed animals. Farmed animals elicited a low-empathic monocular gaze pattern. Women and meat avoiders exhibited more empathic gaze than men and meat eaters, across all categories.

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