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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Buying organic could make you a jerk

Buying organic can make you a jerk
  • Buying organic can make you a jerk

A study published in the journal of Social and Psychological and Personality Science reveals that organic foods can reduce moral judgment. In other words, buying organic can make you a jerk.

If you're familiar with buying organic you may have noticed that the terminology on packages can be a bit, well, cocky. Brand names, like Honest Tea, got the study's author, Kendall Eskine, thinking about the connection between exposure to organic foods and their morale.

The study gathered 60 participants and divided them into three groups. The first group took a look at a series of photos that depicted fruits and veggies that were clearly labeled as organic. The second group looked at comfort foods like cookies and brownies; and the last group looked at pictures of non-organic bland foods like oatmeal and rice.

Participants were then asked to view a series of vignettes that focused on helping strangers in time of need. Researchers asked the participants to make a moral judgment in each situation by admitting how much time they would allot to help the strangers.

Those who viewed the organic food only allowed 13 minutes of their time to help a stranger. The non-organic group gave up 19 minutes, and the fatty food group allowed 24 minutes of their time.

The explanation behind the results can be attributed to the idea of "moral licensing" according to Eskine.

"That they have permission, or license, to act unethically later on. It's like when you to the gym and run a few miles and you feel good about yourself, so you eat a candy bar... There's something about being exposed to organic food that made them feel better about themselves. And that made them kind of jerks a little bit, I guess," said Eskine.

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