Debunking Organics' "Jerk Effect"
Does buying organic food really turn you into a jerk? That was the popular interpretation of a widely publicized 2013 study that linked exposure to organic food to "moral licensing" - making self-righteous consumers more judgmental and less inclined to help others. But a new attempt to replicate those findings concluded that "organic food exposure has little to no effect on moral judgments and prosocial behavior."
Publishing their results in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers noted that the original headlines were sparked by "one experiment with a small sample size." To reproduce those results, they designed three experiments with 124 volunteers. "We observed negligible effect of food exposure on moral judgments and prosocial behaviors," researchers reported. Unlike the original study, however, those less-sensational findings probably won’t show up on the news.