Feeds

Greens more likely thieves and liars, says shock study

Trick-cyclists v hippies - who to trust?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.