How hand washing may affect your mind!
May 18, 2010
The benefits of washing hand go far beyond hand hygiene!
[tweetmeme source=”handresearch” only_single=false] After British scientists unveiled in 2008 that hand washing can weaken moral judgement, now US scientists confirmed that hand washing also helps to ease the mind!
In the journal Science, researchers Spike W. S. Lee and Norbert Schwarz write that hand washing seems to lower the amount of second-guessing and rationalization that occur after making a decision:
“After choosing between two alternatives, people perceive the chosen alternative as more attractive and the rejected alternative as less attractive. This postdecisional dissonance effect was eliminated by cleaning one’s hands. Going beyond prior purification effects in the moral domain, physical cleansing seems to more generally remove past concerns, resulting in a metaphorical “clean slate” effect.”
Obviously, soaping up your hands may do more than just get rid of germs. It may scrub away the inner turmoil you feel right after being forced to make a choice between two appealing options.
So it turns out that Shakespeare was really onto something when he imagined Lady Macbeth trying to clean her conscience by rubbing invisible bloodstains from her hands. A few years ago, scientists asked people to describe a past unethical act. If people were then given a chance to clean their hands, they later expressed less guilt and shame than people who hadn’t cleansed.
SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
Language of the hand when confronted with moral dilemmas.