Washing Hands Removes Doubt, Not Just Dirt
Hand Washing Can Rinse Away Doubts, Help You Live With Your Decisions, Study Finds
WebMD News Archive
Hand Washing Mimics Washing Away Sin continued...
The results, he tells WebMD, show that as much as people feel that washing
cleanses people of past immoral behaviors, it also can reduce the need to
Lee says this “clean slate” effect may have real-life implications. Washing
hands may eliminate remorse for buying one car instead of another, of going to
Rome instead of Paris on vacation, or even of choosing one partner over
Lee tells WebMD the phenomenon is a relic of the human notion of washing
“Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare tried to wash away her guilt of killing King
Duncan,” he says. “Baptism is washing away past sins. We have to take these
metaphors more seriously.”
Lee says the next avenue to explore is positive feelings. He notes that some
baseball players may not wash “lucky” socks, and that people have a tendency
not to wash their hands after touching someone famous.
“Maybe there is a tendency to want to wipe away past negative experiences
and to avoid washing away positive ones,” Lee says.