Maybe what the world really needs is a hot, sudsy bath.
Researchers in Great Britain have found that even just washing your hands may make you less harsh in your judgment of others. Their study, published in the journal Psychological Science, asserts that feeling clean can “reduce the perceived seriousness of moral transgressions.”
The study, authored by psychologist Simone Schnall and two colleagues at the University of Plymouth, revealed that after washing their hands with soap and water, participants in one experiment judged unethical behavior more acceptable than participants who did not wash their hands.
That’s a good thing, in the sense that more tolerance could make it easier for all of us to live together on this crowded planet. But it could be a bad thing in that cleanliness might make us more prepared to accept injustices and wrongdoing.