Liars Try To Wash Themselves Clean

Weird one this! From AOL News:

Liars: keep your supplies of mouthwash and hand sanitizer fully stocked.

Lying spurs the guilty parties to want to clean their “dirty” body parts, according to researchers at the University of Michigan. It’s yet another study to establish a connection between abstractions, like morality or worry, and more tangible experiences of purity or contentedness.

The study included 87 college students, who were asked to act the part of lawyers and imagine themselves competing for a promotion with a co-worker. In the scenario, each student was told they had stumbled across a document important to the co-worker’s chances and could reach out to him by email or voice mail — and either opt to tell the truth and hand it over, or fib and pretend they hadn’t found it.

And here’s where the twist comes in: The same students were then asked to complete a marketing survey, which included mouthwash and hand sanitizer, and evaluate how much they’d pay for each product.

The dirty little voice mail liars were willing to shell out more money for mouthwash, while the e-mail deceivers had a hankering to rub their hands of their treachery.

Those who’d maintained their moral purity, on the flip side, weren’t especially interested in cleaning their body parts with overpriced personal hygiene products…

[continues at AOL News]

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Interesting. Could this basic trope be integral to human social codes? Hence the preoccupation of fundamentalists around the world, be they religious or political, with ideological and racial ‘purity’?

    • gemmarama

      “as we know it, dirt is essentially disorder. there is no such thing as absolute dirt: it exists in the eye of the beholder. if we shun dirt, it is not because of craven fear, still less dread of holy terror. nor do our ideas about dirt account for the range of our behaviour in cleaning or avoiding dirt. dirt offends against order. elliminating it is not a negative movement, but a positive effort to organise the environment.

      …the concept of dirt makes a bridge between our own contemporary culture and those other cultures where behaviour that blurs the great classifications of the universe is tabooed. we denounce it by calling it dirty and dangerous; they taboo it.

      …ambiguous things can seem very threatening. taboo confronts the ambiguous and shunts it into the category of the sacred.”

      mary douglas, “purity and danger” – highly recommended reading.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        So, perhaps it’s the case that the fundamentalist, having an unyieldingly narrow conception of the acceptable face of humanity (i.e., ‘non-dirt’), continually finds him/herself horrified at the inevitable intrusion of messy reality (i.e., ‘dirt’), and eventually spirals out of control in frenzied attempts to cleanse him/herself (i.e., hypocrisy, lies, Tea Parties)? If so, perhaps some type of radical confrontation therapy is called for.

        Maybe Lefties have been wasting their time trying to win rhetorical arguments. Maybe they should just pull up in front of a Tea Party with a sewage truck and just soak ‘em all. You know, like that one episode of Father Ted http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell_(Father_Ted) I believe the general motif has a long pedigree–well beyond the typical denouement of the ‘Slobs vs. Snobs’ genre of low-budget teen comedies I grew up with.

        • gemmarama

          just hand me the hosepipe ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Interesting. Could this basic trope be integral to human social codes? Hence the preoccupation of fundamentalists around the world, be they religious or political, with ideological and racial ‘purity’?

  • gemmarama

    “as we know it, dirt is essentially disorder. there is no such thing as absolute dirt: it exists in the eye of the beholder. if we shun dirt, it is not because of craven fear, still less dread of holy terror. nor do our ideas about dirt account for the range of our behaviour in cleaning or avoiding dirt. dirt offends against order. elliminating it is not a negative movement, but a positive effort to organise the environment.

    …the concept of dirt makes a bridge between our own contemporary culture and those other cultures where behaviour that blurs the great classifications of the universe is tabooed. we denounce it by calling it dirty and dangerous; they taboo it.

    …ambiguous things can seem very threatening. taboo confronts the ambiguous and shunts it into the category of the sacred.”

    mary douglas, “purity and danger” – highly recommended reading.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    So, perhaps it’s the case that the fundamentalist, having an unyieldingly narrow conception of the acceptable face of humanity (i.e., ‘non-dirt’), continually finds him/herself horrified at the inevitable intrusion of messy reality (i.e., ‘dirt’), and eventually spirals out of control in frenzied attempts to cleanse him/herself (i.e., hypocrisy, lies, Tea Parties)? If so, perhaps some type of radical confrontation therapy is called for.

    Maybe Lefties have been wasting their time trying to win rhetorical arguments. Maybe they should just pull up in front of a Tea Party with a sewage truck and just soak ‘em all. You know, like that one episode of Father Ted http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell_(Father_Ted) I believe the general motif has a long pedigree–well beyond the typical denouement of the ‘Slobs vs. Snobs’ genre of low-budget teen comedies I grew up with.

  • gemmarama

    just hand me the hosepipe ;-)

  • Alech

    Let’s take this study seriously, because people more inclined to lie will definitely tell the truth on a survey.

  • Alech

    Let’s take this study seriously, because people more inclined to lie will definitely tell the truth on a survey.

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