Once you go veg, you'll probably break the pledge, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology on Oct. 31 conducted by Prof. Julia Hormes from the University at Albany, State University of New York.
“It can be concluded that the simple act of reading a book can have a significant impact on attitudes related to food production and consumption,” the study reads. “However, it appears that at least some of this attitude change is relatively short in duration, with effects declining or disappearing over the course of a year.”
The study found that first year psychology students who were required to read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, a best-selling book that examines the American food industry, held strong opinions about food at first, including avoiding animal products and buying locally. However, by the student's second year in school, their responses could barely be distinguished from students who hadn't read the book at all — at least when it came to questions concerning things that affected the students directly.
While after a year, students who had and hadn't read the book were effectively identical when they were asked if “they were reluctant to eat meat,” “inclined to buy and eat organically,” or “inclined to buy and eat local produce,” when asked about things that didn't directly affect the students, such as whether they support corn subsidies, those who had read the book continued to agree with the book.
Looks to me like Hormes has successfully proved what everyone already sort of thought: College students as a whole are kind of lazy.
The benefits of a local, animal-free or organic diet aside; the most damning evidence that college students on average can't follow through is buried in the middle of the study.
“Of note, 6.2% (n = 18) of freshmen in 2007 and 17.6% (n = 29) of sophomores in 2008 indicated not having read any of the book [They were supposed to],” the study reads. They don't report how many of the students read only “a little” or “some” of the book, but I can't imagine it's any less.