Search the Site

Cleanliness Is Next to … Morality?

New research finds that the cleaner you feel, the more judgmental you’re apt to be. A team of researchers “invited 58 undergrads to a lab filled with spotless new equipment,” reports the BPS Research Digest. “Half the students were asked to clean their hands with an antiseptic wipe so as not to soil the shiny surfaces. Afterwards all the students rated the morality of six societal issues including pornography and littering. Those who’d wiped their hands made far harsher judgments than those who didn’t.” The researchers found similar results when they asked hundreds of participants to read “clean” vs. “dirty” text passages. In a third study, the researchers also asked participants to rank their own moral character after reading the text passages: “As before, those primed with the clean text made more harsh moral judgments on social issues. Crucially, this association was entirely mediated by their having an inflated sense of moral virtuosity compared with their peers.” Makes you wonder what happens to bedside manner at hospitals that finally convince their doctors to wash their hands. [%comments]