Who knew we subconsciously relate cleanliness with conservatism? A study published in Psychological Science found that people who are reminded of physical purity report being more politically conservative and had harsher moral judgments regarding sexual behavior.
In the first experiment, volunteers were asked to complete a questionnaire on their political attitudes. To do so, they had to either step over a hand-sanitizer or walk down an empty hallway. Results showed that people who were exposed to reminders of cleanliness reported a less liberal and more conservative political orientation than people in the control group. In the second experiment, before being asked to rate their moral approval of various behaviors, some volunteers were exposed to a sign promoting the use of hand wipes to help keep a lab clean. Those who were reminded of physical purity rendered harsher judgments of sexual acts than the control group.
So here’s a dirty trick, don’t display your cleaning products around unless you want to nudge your friends to the right.
Helzer EG, & Pizarro DA (2011). Dirty Liberals!: Reminders of Physical Cleanliness Influence Moral and Political Attitudes. Psychological Science
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