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To Wash Your Body, or Purify Your Soul: Physical Cleansing Would Strengthen the Sense of High Moral Character

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Author(s): Zhixiong Yan | Daoqun Ding | Liangshi Yan

Journal: Psychology
ISSN 2152-7180

Volume: 02;
Issue: 09;
Start page: 992;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Physical Cleansing | Moral Purity | Moral Disgust | Priming Effect

ABSTRACT
Physical cleansing, such as bathing or washing hands, is at the core of many religious rituals, suggesting that physical cleansing ceremonies can purify the soul. The present research examines the association between physical and moral purity by the semantic priming paradigm on which the participants made a lexical decision task. There is an interaction effect between the prime word (cleaning related vs. non-cleaning related) and target word (moral related word vs. non-word) which shows a significant priming effect. Thus, we think that physical cleansing would not only associate with moral transgression in memory stage, but also the sense of high moral character in perception stage.
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