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Embodiment as procedures: Physical cleansing changes goal priming effects.

Published on Apr 1, 2017in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
· DOI :10.1037/XGE0000285
Ping Dong9
Estimated H-index: 9
(U of T: University of Toronto),
Spike W. S. Lee14
Estimated H-index: 14
(U of T: University of Toronto)
Abstract
: Physical cleansing reduces the influence of numerous psychological experiences, such as guilt from immoral behavior, dissonance from free choice, and good/bad luck from winning/losing. How do these domain-general effects occur? We propose an integrative account of cleansing as an embodied procedure of psychological separation. By separating physical traces from a physical target object (e.g., detaching dirt from hands), cleansing serves as the embodied grounding for the separation of psychological traces from a psychological target object (e.g., dissociating prior experience from the present self). This account predicts that cleansing reduces the accessibility of psychological traces and their consequences for judgments and behaviors. Testing these in the context of goal priming, we find that wiping one's hands (vs. not) decreases the mental accessibility (Experiment 1), behavioral expression (Experiment 2), and judged importance (Experiments 3-4) of previously primed goals (e.g., achievement, saving, fitness). But if a goal is primed after cleansing, its importance gets amplified instead (Experiment 3). Based on the logic of moderation-of-process, an alternative manipulation that psychologically separates a primed goal from the present self produces the same effects, but critically, the effects vanish once people wipe their hands clean (Experiment 4), consistent with the notion that cleansing functions as an embodied procedure of psychological separation. These findings have implications for the flexibility of goal pursuit. More broadly, our procedural perspective generates novel predictions about the scope and mechanisms of cleansing effects and may help integrate embodied and related phenomena. (PsycINFO Database Record
  • References (90)
  • Citations (3)
References90
Newest
#1Gary P. Latham (U of T: University of Toronto)H-Index: 71
Goals can be set consciously or they can be primed. Both goal setting theory [ 3•• , 4 ] and the automaticity model [ 7 ] provide frameworks for doing one versus the other. The present paper describes both field and laboratory experiments that primed goals to pursue organizationally relevant tasks. The results suggest the benefit of testing the automaticity model within the framework of goal setting theory.
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#2Qijia Chen (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 4
Last. Dolores Albarracín (UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)H-Index: 35
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A meta-analysis assessed the behavioral impact of and psychological processes associated with presenting words connected to an action or a goal representation. The average and distribution of 352 effect sizes (analyzed using fixed-effects and random-effects models) was obtained from 133 studies (84 reports) in which word primes were incidentally presented to participants, with a nonopposite control group, before measuring a behavioral dependent variable. Findings revealed a small behavioral prim...
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#2Allon Cohen (TAU: Tel Aviv University)H-Index: 1
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In two studies we investigated the association between physical cleansing and moral and immoral behavior in real-life situations. In Study 1, after a workout at the gym, participants cheated more after taking a shower than before taking one. In the second study, participants donated more money to charity before rather than after they bathed for religious purification. The results extend previous findings about moral cleansing and moral licensing and are discussed within the framework of conceptu...
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#1Kai KasparH-Index: 16
#2Vanessa KrappH-Index: 2
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Physical cleansing is commonly understood to protect us against physical contamination. However, recent studies showed additional effects on moral judgments. Under the heading of the “Macbeth effect” direct links between bodily cleansing and one’s own moral purity have been demonstrated. Here we investigate (1) how moral judgments develop over time and how they are altered by hand washing, (2) whether changes in moral judgments can be explained by altered information sampling from the environmen...
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#2Honghong Tang (McGovern Institute for Brain Research)H-Index: 7
Last. Chao Liu (McGovern Institute for Brain Research)H-Index: 15
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Morality is associated with bodily purity in the custom of many societies. Does that imply moral purity is a universal psychological phenomenon? Empirically, it has never been examined, as all prior experimental data came from Western samples. Theoretically, we suggest the answer is not so straightforward—it depends on the kind of universality under consideration. Combining perspectives from cultural psychology and embodiment, we predict a culture-specific form of moral purification. Specificall...
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The five experiments reported here demonstrate that authenticity is directly linked to morality. We found that experiencing inauthenticity, compared with authenticity, consistently led participants to feel more immoral and impure. This link from inauthenticity to feeling immoral produced an increased desire among participants to cleanse themselves and to engage in moral compensation by behaving prosocially. We established the role that impurity played in these effects through mediation and moder...
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Separate lines of research show that individuals: (a) understand immorality metaphorically as physical contamination; (b) project undesirable self-attributes onto others; and (c) view punishment as eliminating a transgressor’s immorality. Integrating these findings, we hypothesized that individuals project guilt over their own immorality—represented as physical contamination—onto another transgressor whose punishment restores their own moral and physical purity. In Study 1, personal immorality s...
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#1Jason L. Huang (WSU: Wayne State University)H-Index: 17
Whether cleanliness influences moral judgments has recently become a topic of debate in the psychological literature. After the initial report that activating the notion of physical purity can result in less severe moral judgments (Schnall, Benton, & Harvey, 2008), a direct replication (Johnson, Cheung, & Donnellan, 2014a) with much larger sample sizes failed to yield similar findings. The current paper examines the possibility that only nonconscious activation of the cleanliness concept, as ach...
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Last. Marzena Cypryańska (University of Social Sciences and Humanities)H-Index: 4
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The results of four studies suggest that contamination concerns involved in prejudice towards male homosexuals may be expressed in the increased need for physical cleansing after an imagined contact with a homosexual man. Participants in Study 1 completed word fragments according to the theme of cleansing, and in Study 2, they chose a cleansing wipe more often after imagining using a mobile phone of a homosexual (vs. heterosexual) man. The need for cleansing was specific to the body parts engage...
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Previous studies identified a network of brain regions involved in the perception of norm violations, including insula, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and right temporoparietal junction area (RTPJ). Activations in these regions are suggested to reflect the perception of norm violations and unfairness. The current study aimed to test this hypothesis by exploring whether a personal disposition to perceive the world as being just is related to neural responses to moral evaluations. The just-world...
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Over five experiments, we demonstrate that physical cleansing (e.g., handwashing) can reduce consumers’ unhealthy eating in subsequent unrelated contexts, by decreasing their choice of vice food (e.g., chocolate cake) versus virtue food (e.g., fruit salad) and their preferred amount vice food for consumption. This effect generalizes over different food stimuli and different operationalizations of physical cleansing (i.e., actual cleansing, visualized cleansing, and vicarious cleansing). Further,...
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