Do green products make us better people?

Psychol Sci. 2010 Apr;21(4):494-8. doi: 10.1177/0956797610363538. Epub 2010 Mar 5.


Consumer choices reflect not only price and quality preferences but also social and moral values, as witnessed in the remarkable growth of the global market for organic and environmentally friendly products. Building on recent research on behavioral priming and moral regulation, we found that mere exposure to green products and the purchase of such products lead to markedly different behavioral consequences. In line with the halo associated with green consumerism, results showed that people act more altruistically after mere exposure to green products than after mere exposure to conventional products. However, people act less altruistically and are more likely to cheat and steal after purchasing green products than after purchasing conventional products. Together, our studies show that consumption is connected to social and ethical behaviors more broadly across domains than previously thought.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Altruism
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Deception
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation / ethics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Moral Obligations*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Desirability
  • Social Responsibility
  • Social Values
  • Theft