Being clean and acting dirty: The paradoxical effect of self-cleansing

Thalma E. Lobel*, Allon Cohen, Lior Kalay Shahin, Shimon Malov, Yaniv Golan, Shani Busnach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 conceptual metaphor theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-313
Number of pages7
JournalEthics and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2015


  • Cheating
  • Licensing
  • Morality


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