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As it turns out, new research has determined that a judgmental attitude may just go hand in hand with exposure to organic foods. In fact, a new study published this week in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, has found that organic food may just make people act a bit like jerks.

"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," says author Kendall Eskine, assistant professor of the department of psychological sciences at Loyola University in New Orleans. "I've noticed a lot of organic foods are marketed with moral terminology, like Honest Tea, and wondered if you exposed people to organic food, if it would make them pat themselves on the back for their moral and environmental choices. I wondered if they would be more altruistic or not."
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To find out, Eskine and his team divided 60 people into three groups. One group was shown pictures of clearly labeled organic food, like apples and spinach. Another group was shown comfort foods such as brownies and cookies. And a third group -- the controls -- were shown non-organic, non-comfort foods like rice, mustard and oatmeal. After viewing the pictures, each person was then asked to read a series of vignettes describing moral transgressions.

"One vignette was about second cousins having sex," says Eskine. "Another was about a lawyer on the prowl in an ER trying to get people to sue for their injuries. Then the groups made moral judgments on a scale from one to seven."

In another phase of the study, the three groups were asked to volunteer for a (fictitious) study, with each person writing down the amount of time -- from zero to 30 minutes -- that they would be willing to volunteer.

The results did not bode well for the organic folks.
Next time someone is mean to me I'll ask them, do you eat organic food?