The New Scientist reports that:
The metaphorical desire to wash away one’s sins is not just wishful thinking but evidence of an innate psychological association between moral and physical cleanliness, according to a new study.
Shakespeare’s notorious murderess – who famously shouts “Out damn spot!” as she tries to scrub away imagined bloodstains – may represent an extreme case. Nevertheless, researchers found that study participants who focused on unethical behaviours such as lying, stealing, or betraying friends were more likely to follow up with activities that indicated they felt physically dirty.
Those who were given an opportunity to wash their hands after recalling incidents of immoral behaviour showed signs of a clearer conscious than those who had not washed.
With Advertising Week upon us in New York (late September), I’ve got to believe there will be a lot of marketing execs washing their hands as well.