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." (Read more organic food stories.)

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