Science Proves Eating Organic Can Turn You Into a Jerk

It's something called 'moral licensing'

If you've ever given a snotty look to some non-ecofriendly shopper carrying around plastic bags, don't worry: Science proves it's completely normal.

A new study published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science basically says that people who buy organic tend to be more self-righteous, MSNBC reports.

Author Kendall Eskine of Loyola University in New Orleans calls it "moral licensing," where people who buy organic feel like they have permission to be jerks later on, like people who can eat chocolate after working out.

The study divided participants into three groups, showing one group food that was obviously organic, another group comfort food like brownies, and the third group (the control) non-organic, normal food like rice, mustard, and oatmeal.

After seeing the photos, the participants read stories of unethical acts, judging them on a scale of one to seven (seven being the most unethical).

Then they had to volunteer for a fictitious study, saying how much time they'd be willing to help out.

"We found that the organic people judged much harder compared to the control or comfort food groups," Eskine said.

Of all the groups, the organic group not only judged the stories more harshly (average 5.5), but also volunteered less time (13 minutes). The comfort food group was the nicest, with ratings averaging at 4.89 and volunteering 24 minutes.

The control group rated the stories at around 5 points, plus volunteered 19 minutes of their time.

"There's something about being exposed to organic food that made them feel better about themselves, and that made them kind of jerks a little bit, I guess," Eskine told MSNBC. On the bright side, it seems like comfort food helps tame self-righteousness, so cupcakes all around.

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