Buying Organic Turns You Into a Jerk
Organic food lovers feel too good about themselves: study
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2012 4:31 PM CDT
A customer picks out vegetables while shopping at the Hannaford Supermarket in Quincy, Mass., Friday morning, June 15, 2007.   (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

(Newser) – Ever encountered a snotty attitude at an organic food stand? It makes sense psychologically, according to a new study that analyzed how people reacted after looking at different kinds of foods, MSNBC reports. "There's something about being exposed to organic food that made them feel better about themselves," says study author Kendall Eskine. "And that made them kind of jerks a little bit, I guess."

The study separated 60 people into three groups: One looked at pictures of organic food; another at comfort foods like cookies and brownies; and a third at foods that were neither, like mustard and oatmeal. Later, the "organic" group judged people harder in made-up moral scenarios and were less willing to help a needy stranger. "People may feel like they've done their good deed," says Eskine, and think they have permission "to act unethically later on."

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Showing 3 of 55 comments
May 22, 2012 5:17 PM CDT
Interesting...the "organic" food was strictly natural whole foods (fruits, veggies)...the two other categories of foods were strictly processed. I'm an organic buyer myself, but am very curious at this point whether conventional fruits/veggies were in place instead of organic...would that have made a difference? And what about "organic" brownies and mustard? This test was poorly set up.
May 20, 2012 7:54 AM CDT
Back up a minute. They looked at pictures of food?? From looking at pictures of food they leap to these conclusions? It seems more likely to me that the subjects of the study deduced how they were expected to play act based on the pictures they were shown.
May 20, 2012 3:36 AM CDT
I've met people like this. I worked at a heath food store for several years. They think they're better than everyone else because they only eat organic foods. They7're like the people who think they're better than everyone else because they drive a certain kind of car or live in a certain neighborhood or work at a particular job. In other words, everyone is a jerk. It doesn't take organic food to bring out the jerk in people. The 'I'm better than everyone else because I...' is already there. As for organic food, I've eaten it and in general it tastes better and I believe it's better for you. But I can't afford it so I can't buy it.