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When knowing the facts isn’t enough to become vegan

How is it possible after sharing facts about something that has direct significance to a person, they don’t change their behaviour?  Despite showing them how their choices are making them unhealthy or unhappy, they still ignore the facts or refuse to look further.  We still see people smoking despite years of advice that it’s not only bad for their general health but is directly linked to lung cancer.  It appears that for most people knowing the facts is not enough to change their behaviour.   Why don’t some people change just by becoming aware of the facts when others do?  Understanding the psychology of how people learn and change their behaviour can explain what is going on and vegans can use this knowledge to become better vegan advocates.

Learning something new, whether it be driving a car, playing golf or learning to cook, involves new knowledge and skills.  For example, reading a manual on how to drive will give you an overview of how to steer a car, coordinate the gearstick and peddles and use the mirrors.  However, when you get into a car, despite knowing the facts, it’s only by practising that you’ll learn how to drive.  With repeated practice, you can become proficient at driving.

Learning to play golf is a great example of how you can learn to do something for fun but can’t do it professionally. You might understand the basics but you will probably learn bad habits that must be ‘un-learnt’ before you can learn to become a professional golfer.  Cooking is also a learnt skill and despite following the same recipe, the results will be very different for the novice as opposed to the chef. Thus. learning a new skill involves knowledge, motivation, confidence and the right practice and often requires un-learning of bad habits before new ones can be learnt.

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