Melanie Joy, Ph.D., Ed.M.


Melanie Joy is an American social psychologist and vegan activist, primarily notable for promulgating the term carnism. She is a professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, as well as the president of Beyond Carnism, also known as Carnism Awareness & Action Network (CAAN), a non-profit advocacy group which she founded in 2010.

Joy received her M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her Ph.D. in psychology from the Saybrook Graduate School. At age 23, while a student at Harvard, she contracted a food-borne disease from a tainted hamburger and was hospitalized, which led her to become a vegetarian, making a gradual transition to veganism.

In a 2013 interview, she explained that her doctoral research had initially focused on the psychosociology of violence and discrimination, but later shifted to questions about the psychology of eating meat. Perceiving a pattern of irrational and inconsistent thinking among the subjects she interviewed, she was led to theorize that attitudes about meat reflected acquired prejudice. This idea became the basis for much of her later work.

Joy introduced the term carnism in a 2001 article published in Satya, initially receiving little attention. The concept was revisited by her 2009 book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. Her ideas influenced subsequent studies of what has come to be known as the "meat paradox" - the apparent inconsistency in common attitudes toward animals, wherein people may express affection towards some animals while eating others - and the cognitive dissonance it entails. Some psychologists are supportive of Joy's beliefs concerning the influence of eating meat on attitudes toward animals.

More from Dr. Joy

Toward Rational, Authentic Food Choices - TEDxMünchen
The Secret Reason We Eat Meat - Beyond Carnism
Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat -  McDougall Advanced Study Weekend, February 2012

Click Here to visit Dr. Joy's Amazon page to review the books she has written.

Publications and Papers
No publications are available at this time.

Websites and Social Media
Beyond Carnism