Eating organic food may make you into a self-righteous jerk, a new study says.
The study suggests that people who choose organic foods are likely to “harshen moral judgments” as their choices lead to a feeling of self-righteousness.
"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," said Kendall Eskine, a psychologist at Loyola University New Orleans and the lead author, reported the Today Show.
Researchers describe the phenomenon as “moral licensing” which means that those who carry out good deeds feel entitled to engage in other immoral behavior.
The study used 62 undergraduates and told them they were participating in separate studies: one about consumer research, and the other a moral judgment test, said Time.
The researchers showed them pictures of food, which the students rated for desirability and then examples of behavior and told to rate them as moral or immoral on a sliding scale.
Those students who were exposed to healthy, organic food were significantly less ethical.
“Those exposed to organic food made significantly harsher moral judgments than those exposed to control foods or comfort foods,” said Erskine, reported Pacific Standard.
“These findings reveal that organic foods and morality do share the same conceptual space.”
The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.