Dearests, I know this won’t apply to any of you, but it is a curious phenomenon: according to a piece in Slate, a recent psychological study shows that a small group of shoppers who bought green products later acted badly in constructed situations — in one case, sharing less money with those in need, and in another, cheating and stealing during a simulated shopping game.
How could buying organic nectarines lead to such nefariousness? Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow explains:
Why might this happen? According to [Benoit Monin, a professor at Stanford], there are two theories. One is that when we’ve established our rectitude, we interpret ensuing behavior in a different light: I just proved I’m a good person, so what I’m doing now must be okay …
Another, potentially overlapping theory holds that we have a kind of subconscious moral accounting system. We like to think of ourselves as good guys, but sainthood has costs. So when we have done our mitzvah for the day, we cut ourselves some slack. In this model, “moral credits” are a kind of currency we accrue and spend.
The notion that being good leads us to be bad doesn’t sound so far-fetched. It’s reminiscent of the idea that after a day of salads and nonfat yogurt, you can indulge in a slice of cheesecake.
What do you think, readers, does this study resonate with you, or is it crazier than a three-for-one CFL special? Vote below.
And behave yourselves out there!