Published May 22, 2012
Call it a case of ‘the smug.’
A study published in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science has revealed that people who are exposed to organic foods are more likely to have judgmental thoughts and feelings, the New York Daily News.
“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,” study author Kendall Eskine, assistant professor of the department of psychological sciences at Loyola University in New Orleans, told NBC’s ‘Today’ show.
According to the New York Daily News, participants were split into three different groups. One group examined pictures of organic foods, another group was shown pictures of ‘comfort’ foods such as brownies or cookies, and the last group looked at non-organic, non-fatty foods like rice and oatmeal.
After observing the pictures, the participants were then asked how much time they would be willing to give up out of their schedule to help a stranger and also asked to judge fictional scenarios.
Those who looked at the organic foods would only give up 13 minutes of their time, while the non-organic group gave 19 minutes, and the fatty food group gave up 24 minutes to help someone in need, the New York Daily News said.
Eskine said that the results can be attributed to what is known as ‘moral licensing.’
“That they have permission, or license, to act unethically later on,” Eskine told ‘Today.’ “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.”