Everyone has been lectured at one point or another by someone who is convinced of the superiority of their own personal eating plan. In the 1970s, the stereotype of the judgmental health food advocate was pretty established. So is it true? Are organic food consumers more smug?
A study that recently appeared in the Journal of Social Psychological & Personality Science, conducted by Dr. Kendall J. Eskine, has revealed that that stereotype may be true. The study is called “Wholesome Foods and Wholesome Morals? Organic Foods Reuce Pro-Social Behavior and Harshen Moral Judgments.”
Dr. Eskine conducted experiments in which he showed participants organic foods, comfort foods, and control foods. Then the subjects were introduced to a “needy stranger”.
Participants who were shown organic foods most often pledged to help the stranger for just 13 minutes. The comfort food group pledged help for 24 minutes, and the control food group for 19 minutes.
The study concludes that the organic group had what Eskine calls “moral licensing”, meaning they had an increased sense of moral superiority so didn’t feel the need to help. In other words, according to the study, “exposure to organic foods may lead people to affirm their moral identities, which attenuates their desire to be altruistic.”
This particular journal is a short-reports publication that publishes unusual and cutting-edge research quickly, although the accepted articles are peer-reviewed.