Monday, February 03, 2014

More organic food => harsher moral judgements.

A recent research paper on the influence of organic foods shows the "moral licensing" effect:
After viewing a few organic foods, comfort foods, or control foods, participants who were exposed to organic foods volunteered significantly less time to help a needy stranger, and they judged moral transgressions significantly harsher than those who viewed nonorganic foods.

(Source: Kendall J. Eskine. Social Psychological and Personality Science 2013 4: 251 originally published online 15 May 2012 DOI: 10.1177/1948550612447114).

People feel morally superior when they have even an unconscious perception of doing good things (eating organic, being "green," describing self in positive terms, etc.). There seems to be a trade-off between doing something prosocial now and anti-social later; as if we have limited "goodness" resources in our minds.

Another paper on the effects of green purchasing concludes:

...people act less altruistically and are more likely to cheat and steal after purchasing green products than after purchasing conventional products. ( Source: Do Green Products Make Us Better People? Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong Psychological Science 2010 21: 494 originally published online 5 March 2010 DOI: 10.1177/0956797610363538 )

tags: trade-off, psychology, social

No comments: