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Want to Feel Morally Superior? Use Purell.

We have all heard the adage “cleanliness is godliness”, but according to a new study reported in Wired, cleanliness also translates into moral superiority.


Behavioral scientists have found that students who were asked to rate moral situations who use antiseptic gel or who were described as being clean and fresh were much more harsh regarding immorality than those who were left unclean.

Perhaps there is something magic in the cleansing process? The study leaves that question unanswered. But for those who just were told they were clean, they were more condemning too and also felt better about their own moral actions.

What does this all mean? Can’t make it to a confessional? Just try some antiseptic gel. It will make you feel all better about yourself (and condemning of very one else).

Summer Johnson, PhD

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