Feeds

Greens more likely thieves and liars, says shock study

Trick-cyclists v hippies - who to trust?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Psychologists in Canada have revealed new research suggesting that people who become eco-conscious "green consumers" are "more likely to steal and lie" than others.

The new study comes from professor Nina Mazar of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and her colleague Chen-Bo Zhong.

"Those lyin’, cheatin’ green consumers," begins the statement from the university. "Buying products that claim to be made with low environmental impact can set up 'moral credentials' in people’s minds that give license to selfish or questionable behavior."

"This was not done to point the finger at consumers who buy green products," insists Mazar, who claims to be a green consumer herself.

"If we do one moral thing, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will be morally better in other things as well."

Mazar and Zhong's paper can be read in full online (pdf here). In it, the two psych eggheads write:

In line with the halo associated with green consumerism, people act more altruistically after mere exposure to green than conventional products. However, people act less altruistically and are more likely to cheat and steal after purchasing green products as opposed to conventional products... purchasing green products may produce the counterintuitive effect of licensing asocial and unethical behaviors by establishing moral credentials. Thus, green products do not necessarily make us better people.

In this experiment that underlined the moral turpitude of eco-conscious consumers, two groups carried out purchases either in a "green store" or a normal store. They were then told they were to participate in an exercise intended to help design new tests, in which they would be paid money based on answers given. It was revealed to them in a dry run beforehand that they could lie about the answers in order to increase their earnings. They were also told to pay themselves - unsupervised - from an envelope of cash. As the profs put it:

Thus, in addition to having the opportunity to lie, participants could also steal...

Those who had made purchases in the green store lied and stole significantly more than the normal-store buyers, according to Mazar and Zhong.

Comment

So there you have it: People who buy green - who offset their carbon, who purchase greened-up electricity, who put windmills on their roofs etc etc - are in the main thieving, lying, holier-than-thou scumbags. The old adage is right: You can never trust a hippy.

Much as we'd love to believe it, though, the whole study - like all of its News McNugget fast-food psychobabble kind - has caused the needle on our bullshit meter to flick far across into the brown zone. Green consumers, we'd suggest, are far more likely to be ripped off by unscrupulous charlatans than they are to be charlatans themselves. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality
Life had just begun, code error means Russia's gone and thrown it all away
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.