People who buy organic food tend to act like jerks, according to a study published on May 15th in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science.
MSNBC states that Renate Raymond, a 40-year-old arts administrator in Seattle told them:
“I stopped at a market to get a fruit platter for a movie night with friends but I couldn’t find one so I asked the produce guy. And he was like, ‘If you want fruit platters, go to Safeway. We’re organic.’ I finally bought a small cake and some strawberries and then at the check stand, the guy was like ‘You didn’t bring your own bag? I need to charge you if you didn’t bring your own bag.’ It was like a ‘Portlandia skit.’ They were so snotty and arrogant.”
The study’s lead author, Kendall Eskine, is an assistant professor of the department of psychological sciences at Loyola University in New Orleans. According to the study, Eskine stated:
“There’s a line of research showing that when people can pat themselves on the back for their moral behavior, they can become self-righteous.”
He went on to say that:
“I’ve noticed a lot of organic foods are marketed with moral terminology, like Honest Tea, and wondered if you exposed people to organic food, if it would make them pat themselves on the back for their moral and environmental choices. I wondered if they would be more altruistic or not.”
Newser reports that the study separated 60 people into three different groups. One of the groups looked at photos of organic food, another looked at comfort foods, such as cookies and brownies, and the last looked at foods that were neither, such as mustard and oatmeal.
Finally, the groups were asked to take place in a morality judgement. According to MSNBC, Kendall stated:
“We found that the organic people judged much harder compared to the control or comfort food groups. On a scale of 1 to 7, the organic people were like 5.5 while the controls were about a 5 and the comfort food people were like a 4.89.”
He concluded by saying:
“People may feel like they’ve done their good deed. That they have permission, or license, to act unethically later on. It’s like when you go to the gym and run a few miles and you feel good about yourself, so you eat a candy bar.”