Completed Egoism and Intended Altruism Boost Healthy Food Choices


Based on the self-licensing literature and goal theory, we expected and found that completed (im)moral actions lead to markedly different food choices (Studies 1 & 2) than intended (im)moral actions (Study 2). In Study 1, people more often chose healthy over unhealthy food options when they recalled a completed egoistic action than when they recalled a completed altruistic action. Study 2 confirmed this finding and furthermore showed that the self-licensing effect in food choices is moderated by the action stage (completed versus intended) of the moral or immoral action. This article extends the existing self-licensing literature and opens up new perspectives for changing consumers' food consumption behavior.