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Are vegan activists more often introverts and carnivores usually extroverts?

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Are introverts more often vegan or vegetarian rather than carnivores? Check out the YouTube video, "Vegan Activism For Introverts." It seems there's a lot more videos on activism for vegetarian and vegan choices than extroverts, where more frequently, TV programs tout eating contests and charcuterie, meat eating, and meals, along with chefs preparing various cuts of meat. That leaves omnivores somewhere in between extroversion and introversion, preferring plates with both hunks of meat and sides of vegetables. You sometimes hear about frugal vegans in urban agriculture and free-spending carnivores at steak houses. Yet numerous celebrities are vegans.

You may wish to check out the Huffington Post article that mentions 99 vegan celebrities, "Celebrity Vegans." But are more of them introverts than extroverts? People who study these topics often are nutritional anthropologists, clinical dietitians, physicians, or various social and behavioral scientists.

Sometimes the studies focus on extroverts (hmmm...fresh meat....man's gotta eat) or meat eating is masculine, and the competition is to see how much meat you can eat. And other times the vegan activism is moral as well as focused on reversing disease through plant foods. So who are more often vegan, introverts or extroverts? You may wish to check out the abstract of a recent study, "Personality traits, motivation and bone health in vegetarians," published online September 2012 in the journal Collegium Antropologicum. Sometimes meat-eating is considered masculine. See, "Real men eat meat - or do they? - Health | NBC News."

Some people could say vegetarians are more extroverted, if the diet and not the individual is considered. For example, vegetarian diets attract more and more attention due to growing concerns about health, ecology and/or animal welfare in general population. But in reality, a lot of vegetarians and especially vegans (including raw vegan foods enthusiasts) are more often introverted, and they may not appreciate people labeling them as picky eaters. They're tailoring the food to their body's requirements for health, say some vegan body builders and other vegan athletes.

On the other hand, introverts who don't want a lot of attention from the general public may be labeled as picky eaters, or more politely, choosey eaters. In the recent study, the main purpose of the paper focused on examining whether vegetarianism could be associated with some specific personality characteristics, with the emphasis on the main motivational factors which determined acquiring the diet.

Since the nutrition is also an important determinant of bone health researchers in the study additionally analyzed the association between personal characteristics and bone density. On a sample of 109 adult vegetarians of both sexes researchers applied Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (including Psychoticism, Extraversion, Neuroticism and Lie scale), bone densitometry and questionnaire on dominant motives for dietary choices.

The results on overall personality characteristics, bone density and basic anthropometric measures were within expected values for age

Vegetarian men had significantly more fractures during lifetime and lower neuroticism scores than women. Dominant motivational factors for acquiring vegetarianism were moral values, the researachers found in that study.

If you're extroverted, can talk to practically anybody with ease, and laugh a lot, do you seek more connections, camaraderie, and communication for comfort through foods because the idea of being a catalyst connects you to emotional possibilities or ties? And if you're introverted, do you offer information about why certain foods are healthiest because of how that food behaves in the body, for most people? Introverts and extroverts have different brains when it comes to why each individual chooses a certain type of food.

"Moral vegetarians" showed more pronounced introversion compared to "health vegetarians," lending further support to the argument that personality plays an important role in the structure of motivation, explains that study's abstract

Introverts and extroverts may choose different diets, foods, or lifestyles, since personality plays role in body weight, according to a recent study. Extroverts choose foods more frequently based on impulsivity. Introverts weigh the risks of eating healthy or not so healthy foods and its later, long-term effects on the system.

Extroverts seek eye-candy, buzz, and emotional connections from food as a comfort vehicle or blanket, a connection and a source of energy and vivacity or vigor. Introverts seek a future reward from food, as in the long-term health effects from a particular meal, diet, or ingredients. If extroverts are sometimes called 'nosey' or 'curious' about food choices, than are introverts more picky/choosey about food when they may often say they care a lot about what they eat, for either health or moral reasons, or more often, both?

What do introverts want from a diet or general food choices?

To make general conversation or small talk, an introvert at a party might tell an extrovert that oil sticks to foods when fried. A doughnut acquires another 250 calories in a deep fryer, in addition to the flour and sugar it started out with, and a baked potato has 200 calories, but one potato chip soaks up 9 calories of fat. The extrovert might laugh, walk away, and impulsively pop the irresistible chip into his or her mouth and smile sardonically at the introvert, having got that satisfaction feeling from the impulse of tasting the food.

For example, a socializing extrovert may be impulsive enough to choose the largest serving of meat and cheese on a bun, compared to an introvert who might look for a regimen of a month-long diet of raw foods and juices to reverse and cleanse in hopes of re-energizing or obtaining health benefits from the diet. Introverts are more likely to leave a party earlier or to avoid the food choices there, if they don't look appetizing enough or familiar. Extroverts may be willing to try bizarre foods, and introverts may hold back wanting to know what's in the food, was it kept cool or hot enough, and where it originated.

Researchers in one study found that impulsivity is the strongest predictor of obesity

And extroverts seeking excitement from food are more likely to choose more risky diets than introverts, who may be more picky eaters. A recent study doesn't focus only on what particular food choices extroverts make compared to introverts' choices. But it did point out that impulsivity is the strongest predictor of obesity. And extroverts tend to be more impulsive, more risk-takers, more "let's do it" in action compared to introverts who reflect about what they eat or what particular preferences they have about food choices, or how they handle obesity.

Lifestyle and exercise interventions that are done in a group setting may be more effective for extroverts than for introverts

That's because introverts may be more cautious and selective about what they choose to eat and when than extroverts, who may be more impulsive about going after food based on taste and eye appeal or emotional comfort and satiation. Check out the PDF format article of original study, "Personality and Obesity Across the Adult Life Span - America," Authors are Angelina R. Sutin, PhD, Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD, Alan B. Zonderman, PhD, and Antonio Terracciano, PhD, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 101, No. 3. April 20, 2011.

The less conscientious, the more likely to go through cycles of gaining and losing weight

People with personality traits of high neuroticism and low conscientiousness are likely to go through cycles of gaining and losing weight throughout their lives, according to an examination of 50 years of data in a study published by the American Psychological Association. Impulsivity was the strongest predictor of who would be overweight, the researchers found. Study participants who scored in the top 10 percent on impulsivity weighed an average of 22 lbs. more than those in the bottom 10 percent, according to the study. Introverts usually are more conscientious, particular, and reflective about what they eat and the outcome of whether the food (or supplements) work.

"Individuals with this constellation of traits tend to give in to temptation and lack the discipline to stay on track amid difficulties or frustration," the researchers wrote, according to the July 18, 2011 news release, Personality plays role in body weight, according to study . "To maintain a healthy weight, it is typically necessary to have a healthy diet and a sustained program of physical activity, both of which require commitment and restraint. Such control may be difficult for highly impulsive individuals."

The researchers, from the National Institute on Aging, looked at data from a longitudinal study of 1,988 people to determine how personality traits are associated with weight and body mass index

Their conclusions were published online in the APA's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. "To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to examine whether personality is associated with fluctuations in weight over time," they wrote, according to the news release. "Interestingly, our pattern of associations fits nicely with the characteristics of these traits."

Participants were drawn from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, an ongoing multidisciplinary study of normal aging administered by the National Institute on Aging. Subjects were generally healthy and highly educated, with an average of 16.53 years of education. The sample was 71 percent white, 22 percent black, 7 percent other ethnicity; 50 percent were women.

All were assessed on what's known as the "Big Five" personality traits – openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism -- as well as on 30 subcategories of these personality traits. Subjects were weighed and measured over time. This resulted in a total of 14,531 assessments across the 50 years of the study.

Although weight tends to increase gradually as people age, the researchers, led by Angelina R. Sutin, PhD, found greater weight gain among impulsive people; those who enjoy taking risks; and those who are antagonistic – especially those who are cynical, competitive and aggressive.

"Previous research has found that impulsive individuals are prone to binge eating and alcohol consumption," Sutin explains in the news release. "These behavioral patterns may contribute to weight gain over time."

Among their other findings: Conscientious participants tended to be leaner and weight did not contribute to changes in personality across adulthood

"The pathway from personality traits to weight gain is complex and probably includes physiological mechanisms, in addition to behavioral ones," Sutin explains in the news release. "We hope that by more clearly identifying the association between personality and obesity, more tailored treatments will be developed. For example, lifestyle and exercise interventions that are done in a group setting may be more effective for extroverts than for introverts."

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 154,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

You might also wish to check out another paper, "Studying Social Aspects of Vegetarianism: A Research Proposal on the Basis of a Survey Among Adult Population of Two Slovenian Biggest Cities." That article discuses the fundamental characteristics of vegetarianism as a heterogeneous and controversial practice, and tries to asses its scope in contemporary Western world.

In the central part it presents the main results of the empirical study of vegetarianism and its perceptions on a representative sample of adult residents of the two largest cities in Slovenia, Ljubljana and Maribor, explains that study's abstract. On this basis, the author of the paper proposes a more comprehensive design of quantitative and qualitative research on social aspects of vegetarianism and responses to it. Check out the publication for more studies on the topic of nutritional anthropology and more.

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