Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Lizzy Pope

Secondary Mentor Name

Christopher Danforth, Peters Dodds, Elizabeth Pinel

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Program/Major

Mathematics

Second College (optional)

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Second Program (optional)

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

Secondary Research Category

Health Sciences

Tertiary Research Category

Engineering & Physical Sciences

Presentation Title

Exploring Perceptions of Veganism

Time

3:00 PM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Engineering & Physical Sciences

Abstract

Currently in popular culture, there is a clear focus on health and how better health can be achieved through a particular eating style. The aim of this project is to focus on perceptions of those following vegan diets, or more specifically, the vegan lifestyle. Considering previously researched health benefits associated with veganism, one would assume a greater proportion of the population would strive to be vegan. This study explores this discrepancy to determine how the public perceives veganism and how this compares to its presence on social media. The first part of this project involves a survey through Amazon Mechanical Turk which provides a baseline as to what the perception of veganism is in the public. This survey is used to compare the portrayal of veganism on different social media platforms. The topic of veganism is studied on both Instagram and Twitter in different ways. Instagram posts associated with the “vegan” hashtag are categorized according to content to determine whether Instagram is an accurate representation of what people actually think regarding veganism. To assess content on Twitter, code built using Matlab evaluates tweets mentioning “vegan” by providing happiness ratings determined by the words used in the post. Ultimately, this determines whether veganism is portrayed in a more positive light on Twitter compared to other posts on Instagram, as well as how this compares to public opinion.

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Exploring Perceptions of Veganism

Currently in popular culture, there is a clear focus on health and how better health can be achieved through a particular eating style. The aim of this project is to focus on perceptions of those following vegan diets, or more specifically, the vegan lifestyle. Considering previously researched health benefits associated with veganism, one would assume a greater proportion of the population would strive to be vegan. This study explores this discrepancy to determine how the public perceives veganism and how this compares to its presence on social media. The first part of this project involves a survey through Amazon Mechanical Turk which provides a baseline as to what the perception of veganism is in the public. This survey is used to compare the portrayal of veganism on different social media platforms. The topic of veganism is studied on both Instagram and Twitter in different ways. Instagram posts associated with the “vegan” hashtag are categorized according to content to determine whether Instagram is an accurate representation of what people actually think regarding veganism. To assess content on Twitter, code built using Matlab evaluates tweets mentioning “vegan” by providing happiness ratings determined by the words used in the post. Ultimately, this determines whether veganism is portrayed in a more positive light on Twitter compared to other posts on Instagram, as well as how this compares to public opinion.