Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


Leave a comment

4 Psychological Studies That May Completely Change The Way You See Yourself

by Higher Perspective

1. The wooden door experiment.

The wooden door experiment was an experiment conducted by researchers in which college students were targeted. The researchers would ask for directions, and halfway through receiving directions from the students, workmen hauling a large wooden door passed between the two having the discussion, and then another researcher switched places with the individual who was asking for directions. Around half of the participants didn’t notice that the person asking for directions had changed.

This is called “change blindness.”
It demonstrates how we’re sometimes not aware of what’s happening before us.

door

 

2. The Stanford prison experiment.

This is one of the most famous psychological studies in existence. It examines how social environments affect our behavior. 24 undergraduates without a criminal background were placed in a fake prison. Some acted as guards, others as prisoners. Six days in, it had to be cut short because the guards became so violent.

“The guards escalated their aggression against the prisoners,” says Phillip Zimbardo, the researcher who initiated the experiment. “Stripping them naked, putting bags over their heads, and then finally had them engage in increasingly humiliating sexual activities.”

Yikes.

3. The Harvard grant study.

Over 75 years, 268 male Harvard graduates were followed over various points in their life to gather data on how they live. What did they find? Love makes you happy. It’s a corny message but true. Love gives us the greatest sense of self-satisfaction.

4. Cognitive dissonance experiments.

Cognitive dissonance is a popular theory in psychology. It states that humans can’t cope with conflicting thoughts and emotions without experiencing some degree of mental distress. One experiment on this matter, conducted by Leon Festinger, involved participants who completed long, mundane tasks. Once completed, half were offered $1 and the other half were offered $20. The $20 group was told to tell the $1 group how much fun they had doing the task. The $1 group justified that they also thought it was a fun task as well, even though they clearly didn’t.

It tells us that we lie to ourselves to justify how we live our lives.


1 Comment

Carl G. Jung Archetypes – The 4 Stages Of Life

Posted on 2015/09/6

“Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.” Carl Gustav Jung

According to the Swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, there are 4 archetypes, 4 stages that we go through during our lifetime, and these stages are:

1. The ATHLETE Stage

At this stage, we are mostly preoccupied with our looks, with the way our body looks. During this stage we might stay for hours looking and admiring our reflection in the mirror. Our body, our looks are the most important thing to us, nothing else.

2. The WARRIOR stage

During this period, this stage, our main concern is to go out there and conquer the world, to do our best, be the best and get the very best, to do what warriors do, and act like warriors act. This is a stage when we continually think of ways to get more than everybody else, a stage of comparison, of defeating those around so we can feel better because we have achieved more, because we are the warriors, the brave ones.

carl-gustav-jung

3. The STATEMENT stage

At this time, this stage in your life, you realize what you have achieved so far is not enough for you to feel fulfilled, to be happy… you are now looking for ways to make a difference in the world, for ways to serve those around you. You are now preoccupied with ways to start giving. You now realize what you chased after until now, money, power, possessions etc. will keep on appearing in your life but you no longer attribute them the same value as before, you no longer are attached to those things because you are now in a different stage of your life, where you know there is more to life than that. You receive them, you accept them and you are grateful, but you are ready to let go of them at any time. You are looking for ways to stop thinking only about yourself, of ways to receive and start focusing on living a life of service. All you want to do in this stage is give. You now know that giving is receiving and it is time for you to stop being selfish, egotistical and self-centered and think of ways to help those in need, to leave this world better than it was when you arrived.

4. The Stage of the SPIRIT

According to Jung, this will be the last stage of our life, a stage where we realize that none of those 3 stages are really who and what we are. We realize we are more than our body, we are more than our possessions, more than our friends, our country and so on. We come to the realization that we are divine beings, spiritual beings having a human experience, and not human beings having a spiritual experience. We now know this is not our home, and we are not what we thought we are. We are in this world but not of it. We are now able to observe ourselves from a different perspective. We are now capable to step out of our own mind, out of our own body and understand who we really are, to see things the way they are. We become the observer of our lives. We realize that we are not that which we notice but, the observer of what we notice.

2500 years ago, Lao Tzu (abt.551-479 BCE) was trying to teach us just that, was trying to teach us how to get to this last stage of life, this spiritual stage: “Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things? Giving birth and nourishing, having without possessing, acting with no expectations, leading and not trying to control: this is the supreme virtue.”


2 Comments

An apple before shopping keeps junk food on the shelf: study

Eating an apple upon entering the grocery store led to shoppers buying 25 per cent more fruits and vegetables than those who did not in a new study from the Cornell Food & Brand Lab.

“What this teaches us,” says Aner Tal, PhD of Cornell, “is that having a small healthy snack before shopping can put us in a healthier mindset and steer us towards making better food choices.”

Tal and co-author Brian Wansink conducted three experiments to make their case, the first of which involved 120 shoppers.

They were given at random an apple, a cookie or nothing at all as they arrived at the grocery store.

Tracking their purchases, the researchers concluded that those who had eaten an apple bought 28 per cent more fruits and vegetables than those who had consumed a cookie and 25 per cent more fruits and vegetables than those who were not given a snack.

In the second experiment, 56 participants who were given either a real cookie or a real apple to eat and then shown 20 images containing two products each.

They were asked to select which one they would purchase and each image featured one healthy item and one unhealthy item, calorie count being the distinguishing factor.

Results were similar to the first experiment, with the cookie eaters opting for a disproportionate amount of unhealthy items

At this point, the researchers wanted to see whether framing a food item as healthy or not could influence shopping choices.

shopping
Snacking on an apple before grocery shopping could
lead to healthier food choices, according to a new study.

Dividing 59 participants randomly into three groups, they tested the controversial practice of promoting foods as healthy when, in fact, the healthiness of that food is either offset by high sugar or absent entirely.

The first group was given a chocolate milk labeled “healthy, wholesome chocolate milk,” the second was given the same beverage labeled “rich, indulgent chocolate milk” and the third received no chocolate milk.

All participants were asked to perform a virtual shopping task, choosing between healthy and unhealthy foods.

Ironically, those who were given the chocolate milk labeled healthy and wholesome made healthier selections during the virtual grocery shopping exercise.

What influences shoppers, according to the study, is the perceived healthfulness, rather than the actual healthfulness.

The researchers recommend shoppers to eat a small, healthy snack before going to the grocery store in order to reduce hunger and point you in the right direction when it comes to making healthy choices.

The study was published Wednesday in the journal Psychology and Marketing along with another by Dr. Wansink that says getting hooked on health foods depends on their being convenient, well-presented and seeming like the natural choice.

Sunday, May 3, 2015 


2 Comments

The 12 Things Sigmund Freud Got Right

May 6 was Sigmund Freud’s birthday (born in 1856). It has been more or less 100 years since Freud wrote many of his groundbreaking books and papers on the human mind – exploring and theorizing about dreams, culture, childhood development, sexuality and mental health. And while some of his theories have been discredited, many major ideas have been borne out and are still relevant today, according to Discover Magazine. They are a roadmap to our minds and are still useful and accepted – in one way or another – by all educated people, who grapple with the issues of self-knowledge and human motives.

Freud tells a story that few of us want to hear: We do not know ourselves. We do not really know what motivates us or why we do what we do.

Our conscious thoughts are just the tip of our mental iceberg.

In commemoration of Mental Health Awareness month this May, the following list, compiled with help from the American Psychoanalytic Association, are 12 examples of the gifts Freud left to us.

1) The Unconcious. Nothing Comes “Out of the Blue”: Freud discovered that there are no accidents and no coincidences. Even “random-seeming” feelings, ideas, impulses, wishes, events and actions carry important, often unconscious, meanings. Anyone who has ever made a “Freudian Slip” that has left them embarrassed or baffled will attest to the importance of the unconscious meanings of the things we do and say. That time you “accidentally” left your keys at your lover’s apartment may have been an accident; but more likely, at least unconsciously, you wanted to go back for more. From dreams, to Freudian slips, to free association — delving into one’s unconscious as a means of unlocking often hidden or denied fantasies, traumas or motivations is still crucial to gaining the whole truth about human behavior.

2) Sexuality is Everyone’s Weakness-and Strength: Sex is a prime motivator and common denominator for all of us. It is not a message many want to hear. So high is our disgust for these elementary Darwinian principles – that led to human triumph over all other living things — that we spent much of our time denying the dark side of our lives. Even the most prudent, puritanical-appearing individuals struggle greatly against their sexual appetites and expression. One need only look to the many scandals that have rocked the Vatican, fundamentalist churches, politicians and celebrities alike. Freud observed this prurient struggle in men and women early on in Victorian Vienna and extrapolated easily from there.

3) A Cigar is Never Just a Cigar (except when it is): It is a commonly accepted idea in contemporary psychology that everything is determined by multiple factors and also idiosyncratic to the individual. So, nothing is so simply determined. So is it a pacifier? Okay. A penis? Perhaps. A cigar? Sure. However, few would argue that all meanings have profound implications. No controversy here. So go ahead, have a cigar.

4) Every Part of the Body is Erotic: Freud knew that human beings were sexual beings right from the start. He took his inspiration from the baby nursing at the mother’s breast to illustrate the example of more mature sexuality, saying, “No one who has seen a baby sinking back satiated from the breast and falling asleep with flushed cheeks and a blissful smile can escape the reflection that this picture persists as a prototype of the expression of sexual satisfaction later in life.” He knew, too, that sexual excitation is not restricted to genitalia, as pleasure is achieved through erotic attachment to potentially any idiosyncratically defined area of the body, and most definitely not limited to genital intercourse between a male and female. Even today many people have great difficulty accepting this idea.

5) Thought is a Roundabout Way of Wishing: Freud discovered that the mere act of thinking (wishing and fantasizing) is itself gratifying. In fact, what therapists and psychoanalysts commonly observe is that the fantasy is more mentally and physically stimulating fulfilling than the actual, real life action the fantasy is organized around. Is it any wonder that reality doesn’t measure up to the intense, vivid fantasy? Freud’s observation that humans’ attempt to fantasize things into reality is today fully accepted by neuroscientists as the basis for imagination.

Freud

6) Talking Cures: “If someone speaks, it gets lighter” From Freud’s introduction lecture XXV.

Whether an individual’s therapy is based in Freudian psychoanalysis or some other form of talk therapy, the evidence is clear that talking helps alleviate emotional symptoms, lessen anxiety and frees up the person’s mind. While medication and brief therapy can often be effective in alleviating symptoms, talk therapy uses the powerful tool of the therapeutic relationship. The whole person is involved in the treatment, not just a set of symptoms or a diagnosis, therefore deeper and more lasting change becomes possible.

7) Defense Mechanisms: The term “defense mechanism” is so much a part of our basic understanding of human behavior that we take it for granted. Yet, this is another construct developed and theorized by the Freuds (Sigmund and his daughter, Anna). According to Freud, defense mechanisms are psychological strategies brought into play by the unconscious mind to manipulate, deny or distort reality in order to protect against feelings of anxiety and/or unacceptable impulses.

Among the many types of defense mechanisms coined by Freud, i.e. repression, rationalization, projection, denial is perhaps the most well known. Denial is an outright refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring. Denial can be personal-for example denying an addiction or denying a painful life experience-but it can also take the form of denying scientific, social and cultural phenomena – for example, the reality of climate change or the Holocaust.

8) Resistance to Change: Our minds and behavior patterns inherently resist change. It’s new, it’s threatening and it’s unwelcome – even when it’s a change for the good. Psychoanalysis got this ubiquitous principle of resistance right, and found tools to bring it to consciousness and defeat its stubborn ability to create obstacles to forward movement, both of individuals and groups.

9) The Past Impacts the Present: This might seem like a no-brainer to most of us in 2015, but more than 100 years ago, this was an “ahh-ha” moment for Freud. Today, many of Freud’s theories on childhood development and the effects of early life experience on later behavior contribute greatly to helping and treating patients whose lives are stuck in repetitive patterns.

10) Transference: An example of the past impacting the present is the concept of transference, another Freud construct that is widely understood and utilized in today’s psychology practices. Transference refers to very strong feelings, hopes, fantasies and fears we have in relation to the important relationships of our childhood that carry forward, unconsciously, and impact present day relationships.

11) Development: Human development continues throughout the life cycle; a successful life depends on adaptability and mastery of change as it confronts each of us. Every new stage of life presents challenges and provides the opportunity to reassess our core personal goals and values.

12) The Price of Civilization is Neurotic Discontent: Freud stated, “The inclination to aggression constitutes the greatest impediment to civilization.” Few thinkers have looked so unflinchingly at human aggression as Freud. While the guns of August still echoed and European anti-Semitism grew rife, Freud wrote Civilization and Its Discontents (1929), declaring: “Man is wolf to man. Who … will have the courage to dispute this assertion?” “Men are not gentle creatures who want to be loved,” Freud wrote in 1929, using words as relevant today as then, “but rather, (are) creatures whose instinct (is) aggressiveness.” We continue to meet the enemy…and it is us. Yet if we cannot change, what will happen to our civilization?”

The Nazi invaders in World War II banned and attacked Freud, as did the Communists afterwards. New Yorker editor David Remnick quotes a Hamas leader saying that Israel must be destroyed because “the media – it’s controlled by the Jews. Freud, a Jew, was the one who destroyed morals.”

But Freud did not like America. He thought that Americans had channeled their sexuality into an unhealthy obsession with money.

He wrote to a German friend after World War I, “Is it not sad, that we are materially dependent on these savages, who are not a better class of human beings?”

Ironically, America, in the end, turned out to be a most favorable repository of Freud’s exquisite legacy of ideas.

Posted: 05/07/2015

 


1 Comment

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

By Joachim Vogt Isaksen

Have you ever had the experience of waking up one day following a lousy night’s sleep after several nightmares and thought to yourself: “this is going to be a crappy day”, and at the end of the day concluded that your predictions were correct and this was exactly what happened? You may have been thinking to yourself that you completely predicted the outcome of your day, and that you probably should have stayed at home this day.

The self-fulfilling prophecy is a concept used by the American sociologist Robert Merton to describe how a statement may alter actions and therefore become true. In situations where many individuals act on the basis of an expectation, they may actually influence whether an incident will take place or not. When this is happening the individuals create the very conditions they actually believe exist. Even when where there is no reason to worry, the feared outcome may take place if enough people act as if there were some kind of basis for the fear.

Self-fulfilling prophecies often lead to unfavourable outcomes. The dire expectation that an event may take place may have serious consequences, such as bankruptcies, scarcity of food and goods, pressures on the stock-markets, and may even lead to wars. People may for example, act on a false rumour that the stocks will decline, or that there will be a shortage of butter in the close future. If enough people act on these false rumours by selling their stocks and buying huge quantities of butter, they will actually cause the expected event to occur.

One example of the self-fulfilling prophecy is the placebo effect. The placebo effect has been demonstrated in several studies, and may be described as the felt improvement in health but which is not attributable to the medication, or the given treatment. Instead, the patient’s belief in the treatment will enhance the immune system, and lead to faster recovery.

The self-fulfilling prophecy has also been demonstrated in experiments where people justify their prejudices toward members of other ethnic groups. This could be illustrated by the following statement: “We don’t want those people here because they only stick to themselves anyway, they are so chauvinistic on behalf of themselves.”

While the self-fulfilling prophecy doesn’t have the force to alter natural events such as hurricanes or earthquakes, your personal attitude may influence smaller everyday situations as how you relate to other people and their response to your behavior. If you apply an optimistic mindset you may for example influence other people to perceive you in a positive way.

People who tend to be caught in negative self-fulfilling prophecies often suffer from low self-esteem where they act upon an overly critical self-evaluation. They tend to have a pessimistic view on the world and their chances to influence their own situation for the better. This leads to a vicious cycle, where their negative mindset strengthens their self-fulfilling prophecies.

In sum, increased awareness of how to avoid the negative effects of self-fulfilling prophecies may be for the good not only for people in their daily lives, but also for society as a whole.

Further reading:
Merton, Robert K. 1968. Social Theory and Social Structure.New York: Free Press.

self fulfilling prophecy

Using Self-Fulfilling Prophecies to Your Advantage

Why “fake it ’til you make it” is good advice

October 11, 2012        by Carolyn Kaufman, Psy.D. in Psychology for Writers

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy CycleHow the self-fulfilling prophecy worksA self-fulfilling prophecy is a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it is already true. New Agers call this The Law of Attraction (see, for example, Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 self-help book The Secret), but there’s really nothing mystical about it. Our expectation that we will see a particular outcome changes our behavior, which shapes the way others see us. In turn, others provide the feedback we’ve set ourselves up to get, which serves to reinforce the original belief.

Let’s say, for example, that I’m going to a party where I don’t know many people. If I believe I don’t make a good first impression, or I worry that nobody will talk to me, I will probably enter the party acting awkward, anxious, and standoffish. In turn, people are likely to interact with me with less enthusiasm, or they may ignore or shun me. Which only reinforces my belief that I’m not good with people I don’t know.

If, by contrast, I enter the party believing that I’m good with people I don’t know and expecting to make new friends, I’m likely to be outgoing, engaging, and less apt to take a cold shoulder personally. As a result, people will likely respond amiably to my friendliness and I may indeed make new friends.

So that old “fake it ‘til you make it” advice is pretty darn good advice.

Though many writers are solitary creatures, we are just as susceptible to self-fulfilling prophecies as anyone else. Our behaviors towards others impact others’ behaviors toward us.

Let’s take the querying process, for example. Let’s assume you’ve completed a project and had it vetted by trustworthy beta readers, and now it’s as polished as you know how to make it. Let’s also assume that you know how to write a decent, professional query letter.

If you believe your project is strong and feel confident about it, you will probably write a strong, confident letter. More importantly, you will be motivated to find reputable agents who will be interested in your project and tenacious about sending out your queries. If, by contrast, you are uncertain about your project and its merits, you may have trouble writing an upbeat, engaging letter.  Each rejection will punch holes in your resoluteness, and you’ll spend far more time worrying about what’s wrong with your story (or your query) than you will actually striving to get your project out there.

That faith in your project and yourself will also serve you well when it comes to marketing your book. (And these days much of the marketing does fall to the writer, not the publisher.) If you don’t believe anyone will want to buy your book, why would you bother doing the work to market it? If, on the other hand, you believe you have something others will really enjoy or find useful, you will be enthusiastic about reaching out to possible readers. And enthusiasm is contagious.

Caveat: Confidence is useful; arrogance, not so much. Some writers get presumptuous and self-aggrandizing and approach agents and editors by using unrealistic, overblown statements like “This is guaranteed to be a bestseller!” or “You are now reading a letter from the next JK Rowling!” These things neither inform the agent/editor about your project, nor endear you to him or her.  Humility and a willingness to learn usually go a lot farther.  Fortunately, confidence and humility can go together.

What are some ways you see self-fulfilling prophecies operating in your writing life? Where are they holding you back?

Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD ♦ Psychology for Writers on Psychology Today 
Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD is the author of The Writer’s Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately About Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior


Leave a comment

Resisting temptation: It’s all in your brain

If I offer you a bag of potato chips today or a box of chocolate truffles next week, which would you choose? Neuroscientists are interested in exploring what happens when the brain must choose between receiving a reward immediately or in the future, especially when waiting may result in a prize you like better.

A seahorse-shaped structure in the brain called the hippocampus is involved in recalling events from the past, and imagining them in the future. A new study in the journal PLOS Biology explores what role the hippocampus plays when a person has to decide between getting a reward now or later.

This study looked at healthy individuals as well as those with Alzheimer’s disease, a condition characterized by memory impairment and associated with atrophy of the hippocampus, and a different brain condition called frontotemporal dementia.

The French study, led by Mael Lebreton at the Brain and Spine Institute (ICM) in Paris, looked at time-dependent choices involving money, as well as “episodic” options such as food, sports or cultural events.

In the first experiment, researchers gave 15 participants a series of decisions about choosing one reward or another, where one of the hypothetical prizes is given now, and the other later. Some options were described in labeled photos, and some as just text. Photos gave participants a visual image, but with text, the subjects were forced to imagine what they would get. Participants tended to choose the delayed rewards when they imagined them with more detail.

The second experiment involved 20 participants faced with the same kinds of decisions. Here researcher learned that participants tended to be consistent in their level of impulsiveness, regardless of whether they were choosing between amounts of money or experiences such as foods or sports tickets. Individuals tended to either want rewards right away, or they were willing to wait for something better, “arguing in favor of a common underlying impulsive trait,” the study authors wrote.


This second experiment also used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track activation patterns in the hippocampus. Importantly, when immediate rewards were shown as pictures, and future rewards were given as text, researchers found that the amount of activity in the hippocampus was related to the selection of future rewards. But when both options are presented as pictures, or as text, the hippocampus does not show increased activation. In other words, the hippocampus helps you assess the value of waiting for a reward when you have to imagine it, compared to an immediate reward that you can see.

Researchers also studied these kinds of tasks among dementia patients compared to healthy controls. Unlike the healthy participants, Alzheimer’s patients tended to not favor options written out as text, which required mental simulation. Study authors say this suggests that the damage to the hippocampus caused by Alzheimer’s may impact these time-related choices. The type of dementia seems to matter, too. Patients with a behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia tended to be impulsive in many different scenarios, whereas Alzheimer’s disease patients favored immediate over delayed rewards, when they had to imagine the future rewards.

Potentially, this may mean patients with Alzheimer’s disease or even general damage to the hippocampus, will have problems pursuing long-term goals because they have problems simulating future experiences in their minds, the study said.

But, given the small sample sizes for the experiments, more research is needed to confirm the findings and strengthen the possible conclusions. It is also based on associations between behaviors and brain activity, and does not prove causation.

The new study is part of a growing body of research exploring areas of the brain most associated with self-control and how they work.

In the future, scientists say, drugs may be designed to enhance these processes, so that people with impulse control problems can find relief. Understanding the processes that break down in people who can’t say no to temptation as often as they would like, may lead to the eventual development of such drugs.

by: Elizabeth Landau – CNN.com Health Writer/Producer

 source: CNN


Leave a comment

6 Purely Psychological Effects of Washing Your Hands

Washing your hands doesn’t just keep you healthier; it has all sorts of subtle psychological effects as well.

Hand washing sends an unconscious metaphorical message to the mind: we don’t just cleanse ourselves of physical residues, we also cleanse ourselves of mental residues.

So, here are six purely psychological effects of washing your hands…

1. Recover optimism

Washing your hands can wash away the feeling of failure.

In a study by Kaspar (2012) participants who failed at a task, then washed their hands, felt more optimistic afterwards than those who didn’t.

Unfortunately washing their hands also seemed to reduce their motivation for trying the task again.

Still, hand washing can help boost optimism after a failure.

2. Feel less guilty

In the mind, dirt is associated with guilt, so theoretically washing doesn’t just remove dirt, it also removes a guilty feeling.

One study had participants think about some immoral behaviour from their past (Zhong & Liljenquist, 2006). One group were then told to use an antiseptic wipe, and another not.

Those who washed their hands after thinking about an immoral behaviour felt less guilty. The antiseptic wipe had literally wiped away their guilt.

3. Take the moral high ground

Feeling clean directly affects our view of other people.

When people in one study washed their hands, they were more disgusted by the bad behaviour of others (Zhong, Strejcek & Sivanathan, 2010):

“…”clean” participants made harsher moral judgments on a wide range of issues, from abortion to drug use and masturbation. They also rated their own moral character more favorably in comparison with that of their fellow students.” (Lee & Schwarz, 2011)

So, when people feel clean themselves, they take the moral high ground and are harsher on the transgressive behaviour of others.

 
Wash your hands, wash your mind: recover optimism, feel less guilty, less doubtful and more…
 

4. Remove doubt

Sometimes, after people make the wrong decision, they try to justify it by pretending it was the right decision.

It’s a result of cognitive dissonance, and it’s one way in which people lie to themselves.

However, hand washing may wipe away the need for self-justification in some circumstances, leaving you better able to evaluate your decision the way it really is (Lee & Schwarz, 2010).

5. Wash away bad luck

Washing the hands can mentally wipe away the effects of perceived bad luck.

When participants in one study had some experimentally induced ‘bad luck’ while gambling, washing their hands seemed to mentally wash away their bad luck (Xu et al., 2012).

In comparison to those who didn’t wash their hands, hand washers carried on betting as if their bad luck was forgotten.

6. Guilt other people into washing their hands

Apart from its psychological effects, hand washing is the cheapest and best way of controlling the spread of things like colds and other infectious diseases.

So, getting people to wash their hands is really important.

To this end, a public health study flashed different messages onto the walls of public toilets as people entered, including “Water doesn’t kill germs, soap does,” and “Don’t be a dirty soap dodger.” (Judah et al., 2009)

The most effective overall message, though, was: “Is the person next to you washing with soap?”

So it seems when you wash your hands in a public toilet, you help guilt other people into washing theirs as well.

Not only are you staying healthy, you’re also doing a public service by shaming others into following suit.

A clean slate

All these studies are demonstrating that when we wash our hands, we also wash our minds clean:

“…the notion of washing away one’s sins, entailed in the moral-purity metaphor, seems to have generalized to a broader conceptualization of wiping the slate clean, allowing people to metaphorically remove a potentially broad range of psychological residues.” (Lee & Schwarz, 2011)

Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog.  
source: PsyBlog