News: Can buying organic food make people mean?

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News: Can buying organic food make people mean?

It might make people healthier, but a new study shows buying organic food also makes people less likely to help needy strangers and more likely to judge unethical behavior harshly.


According to the study in Social Psychological and Personality Science, as reported by MSNBC, exposure to organic foods leads a person to affirm their moral identity, which weakens their desire to be selfless.

"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," says author Kendall Eskine, assistant professor of the department of psychological sciences at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Confession: This study has me a little concerned.

I usually try to buy organic, at least when it makes sense. And though I don’t think it makes me feel morally superior, I also can’t remember the last time I volunteered.

That being said, I never think to myself, “I just bought an organic apple, I’m sooo not going to help that old woman/injured puppy/child.”

But according to the study, if I did see someone in need, I’d probably just ignore it while happily munching on my organic fruit and simultaneously judging others for standing idly by.

"People may feel like they've done their good deed," says Eskine. "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."

Now that, I know I’ve done. So who’s to say I haven’t also acted immorally after an organic shopping spree?

What do you think? Do you feel like you’ve done your good deed for the day after buying organic food? Do you think people who buy organic food are meaner than those who don’t?

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

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