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Wiping the Slate Clean: Psychological Consequences of Physical Cleansing

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Lee, Spike W.S., and Norbert Schwarz. 2011. "Wiping the Slate Clean: Psychological Consequences of Physical Cleansing." Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(5): 307-311.

Cleaning one's hands removes more than physical contaminants; it also removes residues of the past-from the guilt of past transgressions to doubts about past decisions. We review recent evidence for these and other clean-slate effects from the perspectives of neural reuse, grounded cognition, and conceptual metaphor; discuss their implications; and suggest promising future directions.

DOI:10.1177/0963721411422694 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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