The song was spot on – it is possible to wash that man right out of your hair.
A study shows washing has powerful psychological effects, ‘cleansing’ us of negative feelings.
In the musical South Pacific, heroine Nellie Forbush managed to ease her confusion over a lover when she sang ‘I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair’.
But psychologists say the same principle applies to a wide range of emotions.
‘By washing the hands, taking a shower or even thinking of doing so, people can rid themselves of a sense of immorality, unlucky feelings, or doubt about a decision,’ said researcher Spike Lee of the University of Michigan in the U.S.
‘The bodily experience of removing physical residues can provide the basis of removing more abstract mental residues – metaphor is that powerful.’
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